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Hip pain is a very common complaint and can be caused by a various reasons. The exact location of hip pain can provide important clues about its underlying cause. Pain on the inside of the hip or groin can be caused by problems within the hip joint itself while hip pain on the outside of the hip, upper thigh or outer buttock is usually caused by issues with muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues that surround the hip joint.

Most Common Causes of Hip Pain

 Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis differ from person to person. However, if the hip is affected, it will usually result in:

  • mild inflammation of the tissues around the hip joint
  • injury to cartilage surrounding the hip joint
  • bone spurs  which develop around the edge of the hip joint

Pain from osteoarthritis is generally felt within the hip joint itself. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, the symptoms can be improved through various non-surgical or surgical treatments which range from Physical Therapy and medications to injections or a joint replacement procedure for those who have not gotten adequate relief from more conservative treatments.

Tendinitis and Bursitis

There are several tendons around the hip that connect the muscles to the joint and allow for the flexibility and stability of the hip joint. The tendons can often become inflamed and painful due to overuse and this inflammation is known as tendonitis. One of the most common causes of tendinitis at the level of the hip joint is iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. This is commonly experienced by runners and athletes and is the result of overuse of the IT band coupled with poor muscle endurance. The pain from IT band syndrome is usually felt in the muscle and around the thigh. This condition can be successfully treated in most cases with stretching, icing, anti-inflammatories and activity modification.

Femoral-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) Syndrome

This is a condition where the neck of the ball and the edge of the socket of the hip “impinge” or catch on each other during higher levels of activity such as running or pivoting activities. This results in activity related groin pain. It is diagnosed by clinical examination and confirmed by MRI. The treatments range from anti-inflammatory use and activity modification to surgical intervention to trim the bone edges so they no longer rub against each other.


Dr. Nicholas Alexander is the Founder of Mahwah Valley Orthopedic Associates and a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of hip and knee conditions.  Dr. Alexander completed his Fellowship in Adult Reconstruction and Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has over two decades of experience. He also serves as the Chairman of the Valley Hospital Total Joint Center. Dr. Alexander has offices in Mahwah and Clifton, NJ.  If you, or someone you love, is considering treatment for a hip or knee injury, contact us today for a consultation.

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