Hip Pain

This might sound like a silly question. Hip pain is pain felt in the hip surely!? In fact true hip pain is usually felt in the groin!

Hip pain is a common problem that can lead to disability. It is important that a thorough and correct assessment is carried out in order to help with an accurate diagnosis.

Although physical examination is an important part of diagnosing hip conditions, the use of imaging (X-ray/MRI/CT) is crucial to aiding this diagnosis.

During your consultation, there are different ‘tests’ that your Doctor can do to help determine what is going on inside your joint. These involve your leg being manoeuvred in various ways to assess the range of movement, restrictions and pain. However, if one of these ‘tests’ is positive, it could still be down to a number of different hip conditions. So although your Doctor can usually make an educated diagnosis based on history taking and examination, it is important to link this with your imaging to confirm.

The type of imaging that you are sent for will also depend on what your doctor thinks is the cause of your hip pain. X-Rays are, as we all know, good at showing bones and any defects or break in them. However for a more in-depth look at the joint and the soft tissues, ligaments and tendons surrounding it, an MRI is crucial.

Although your hip pain could be as the result of a number of conditions, three common causes are:


  • True hip pain is usually felt in the groin
  • Although some conditions do produce pain on the outside of the hip (for example Trochanteric bursitis), pain felt on the outside of the joint may be referred from the Spine or the knee.
  • If properly diagnosed and treated at an early stage then some conditions can be initially treated with physiotherapy or a hip injection.

If possible avoidance of surgery is always our aim and the decision to operate is only taken when non-operative measures, such as physiotherapy, have failed to improve symptoms.