What Are the First Signs of Hip Problems?

Hip problems can affect anyone young or old. If you can recognize the early signs of hip problems, you can seek treatment sooner to help prevent the loss of function and degeneration of your hip.  Some hip pain will resolve on its own with rest and over-the-counter medications, but other types of hip pain may persist. Our orthopedic specialists at University of Utah Health are here to diagnose your condition and customize your treatment so you can start living a healthy, pain-free life again.

Healthy hip joint: When should you see a doctor for hip pain?

Hip Pain Symptoms

Hip pain can occur anywhere in or around the hip joint, but it may also appear in other parts of your body such as the groin, thigh, or knee. This is called referred hip pain. You may want to see our hip specialists for any of the following symptoms:

  • limping,
  • pain that occurs while sitting, squatting, or pivoting,
  • pain in your groin or upper thigh,
  • hip pain that shoots down to your knee,
  • sharp or stabbing pain,
  • a snapping or popping sensation in your hip,
  • muscle weakness or stiffness around your hip,
  • hip swelling, and
  • trouble sleeping on your hip.

What Can Cause Hip Pain?

As one of the most stable joints in the body, the hip is very important in keeping us upright and mobile. However, because most of your body’s weight rests on the hip, it can develop pain in the muscles, tendons, or bursae (fluid-filled cavities that cushion your joints).

Your hip pain may stem from health conditions such as:

  • hip fractures,
  • bone or joint infections,
  • osteonecrosis of the hip (when the bone breaks down due to a loss of blood flow),
  • arthritis,
  • labral tear of the hip (damage to the labrum or ring of cartilage within the hip joint),
  • bursitis, inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac near the hip joint),
  • hamstring strain,
  • hip flexor strain,
  • femoroacetabular impingement (hip impingement), a structural bone disorder that makes the bones rub against each other during movement,
  • groin strain, and
  • snapping hip syndrome, a snapping or popping sensation that occurs whenever your hip flexes or extends.

Find an Orthopedic Hip Specialist

Hip Conditions

The University Orthopaedic Center specializes in treating hip pain and conditions from correcting abnormalities to traumatic injuries. If you are experiencing any symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists to get the treatment you need.

What We Treat

Our services treat the following conditions:

Hip Treatments

Procedures and Therapies

At U of U Health, we help our patients with chronic hip pain extend the life of their hips by reconstructing parts of your joint for optimal movement. In fact, our center is the front runner in hip preservation research and development, which means better care for patients with abnormal hip conditions. We offer the best available treatments such as:

Hip Remedies

Before paying a visit to your doctor, try the following at-home treatments for minor hip pain. 

  • Rest – Avoid sleeping on or bending at the hip that is causing you pain. Keep any direct pressure off of your hip until the pain subsides.
  • Pain relievers — Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) could help alleviate your hip pain.
  • Ice or heat — Wrap ice cubes or a bag of frozen veggies in a towel to apply to your hip or draw a warm bath to loosen your muscles.

When Should You See a Doctor for Hip Pain?

If the pain has not ceased after a week of home remedies, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Any hip pain that occurs in both joints or is accompanied by a fever or a rash should be examined by a doctor right away.

ER Visits for Hip Pain

The National Institutes of Health recommends visiting the emergency room if:

  • you have acute hip pain caused by a serious fall or injury;
  • you have a leg that is deformed, badly bruised, or bleeding; or
  • you cannot move your hip or put any weight on your leg.

See Our Providers for Hip Pain

You do not need a referral to see one of our specialists for hip pain.* Before you come to see us, please follow these steps:

*Be sure to check with your insurance beforehand to see if they require you to have a referral to see one of our hip pain specialists.

Have You Seen Anyone for Hip Pain Before?

Send us your X-ray and we will give you a complimentary evaluation.