The Top Four Causes of Hip Pain in Women

The Top Four Causes of Hip Pain in Women

This post was updated for content on January 25, 2021. Existing comments have not been removed or edited.

When women visit their physicians about hip pain, there are a number of factors that the doctor will take into consideration to help determine the problem. The first thing that needs to be established is whether it’s actually the hip causing pain, as women can have a number of conditions, including their monthly cycles, that can cause pain in the upper thigh, upper buttock, or low back that can mimic joint pain.

Next, they’ll consider a patient’s age, activity levels, and how their bodies are built, because these can also provide a great deal of information about the potential issue. What are some of the actual causes of hip pain in women?

  1. Arthritis

The number one most common cause of hip pain in women is arthritis. Stiffness and swelling, felt in the front of the thigh or in the groin, are symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is the result of wear and tear that comes with aging. “The ball-and-socket joint starts to wear out,” says Stefanie Siegrist, MD, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and that can result in gradually increasing hip pain.

  1. Gynecological or Back Issues

Another reason for hip pain in women may be less related to their musculoskeletal systems and more to do with their reproductive systems. “Hip pain in women can have gynecological causes,” Siegrist says. For example, conditions like endometriosis can cause pelvic tenderness, which some women report as hip pain. Also, some women may experience pain that presents in the buttocks or hip, but which is actually caused by an issue in the spine. A pinched nerve, for example, can cause pain that radiates down the back of the hip and into the leg.

  1. Structural Irritation

The hip joint is one of the largest and most mobile in the body, and there are dozens of soft tissue elements like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bursae to keep it stable and supported. These can easily become irritated or inflamed through overuse, or injured through strenuous activities, and become a cause of hip pain. Runners, for example, can experience tendinitis at the hip joint because of a tight IT band, a thick span of tissue on the outside of the thigh.

  1. Hip Fractures

Hip fractures are a major area of concern when an older woman reports hip pain. Because of conditions like osteoporosis, which indicates a decrease in overall bone density, this diagnosis is more common in older women. If you experience symptoms like pain when you straighten, lift, or stand on your leg or the toes on the injured side appearing to turn out, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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