Hip pain is common in the elderly, but anyone can be at risk. Hip pain can have many causes, from being overweight to an injury or a medical condition.
More than 76 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of pain – a significant portion of the population. But hip pain does not make it into the above four types of pain: back pain, headache or migraine, neck pain and facial pain. About 15% of people aged 65 and over report hip pain, but that’s still half the number who complain of knee pain.
Pain in your hip joint, below your thigh, or in your back area can cause an injury to your hip or an abnormal condition. Injuries to the hips may or may not cause pain in the hips – it can actually result from an injury to another part of the body.
Although hip pain is common in the elderly, it can affect people of all ages, including children. The most common causes of hip pain are:
Arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis
Bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa, small, fluid-filled sacs that help your joints move easily
Aseptic necrosis (not enough bleeding in the buttocks)
Tension or pressure on the muscles in the hip joint
Pain or injury to the lower back
Falling or other injury to the hip
Hip Pain: Understanding Osteoarthritis
About 10 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, which usually affects the hips and knees. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to have joint pain than people of healthy weight – 66% of people diagnosed with arthritis are either overweight or obese.
Osteoarthritis is by far the most common cause of hip fractures. A significant 97% of hip replacements are due to osteoarthritis of the hip fracture. Osteoarthritis is also responsible for 70% of hip replacement causes other than hip fractures.
Hip Pain: When Hip Fracture Is the Cause
A hip fracture, which can cause thigh and back pain in addition to restricting the movement of the hip joint, is a very serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. Most people who break hips are older, and the risk increases with age. In addition to the elderly, people at risk for hip pain or hip fractures include:
There is cancer
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis has a family history
Are overweight or obese
Have taken long-term steroids
Scale cell anemia
Injury to the back or hip
Drink too much alcohol
Hip pain, whether caused by an injury, infection or inflammation, can often be managed – and you should miss out on your daily activities. Therapy and medications (often anti-inflammatory drugs) can help relieve hip pain. And if you have risk factors for hip pain and hip fractures, it is important to protect your bone and joint health with weight-bearing exercise and plenty of calcium and vitamin D.