How can you tell if your hip pain is nothing to worry about or a sign of serious trouble?

My name is Dr. David Geier – orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine expert. I help you feel, look and perform your best, regardless of age or injury.

Everyone’s body is different, but there are some common symptoms of hip pain and hip injuries that may indicate a more serious condition. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible:

Pain in the groin and inner thigh

The groin and inner thigh are areas where the muscles and tendons of the hip connect to the pelvis. If you experience pain in this region, it may be due to any number of conditions:

Muscle strain – If you’ve recently lifted something heavy or done too much exercise without warming up properly, you might have strained muscles in the front of your hip area. This type of injury is usually isolated and easy to identify because it causes sharp pain when moving or walking on that side. It can also be accompanied by swelling around the groin area if there’s been some damage done internally as well; however, most cases don’t require medical attention beyond rest until symptoms subside.

Osteoarthritis of the hip joint is almost always felt in the groin, rather than the buttocks and gluteal region or on the outside of the hip. If you have pain in the buttocks, it is very likely coming from your lumbar spine – your lower back. If you have pain on the outside of your hip, it is very often caused by a form of bursitis called trochanteric bursitis. This bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac on top of the bony prominence on the outside of your upper thigh. It often affects adults who participate regularly in activities involving repetitive movements such as running or cycling over long distances without proper stretching.

Also, pain in the groin in a runner, especially a female runner, who has recently increased her training distance, could be a sign of a worrisome stress fracture – a femoral neck stress fracture. Those are dangerous injuries and often need surgery, so pain in this area with running and walking is worth seeing an orthopedic surgeon.

A deep ache in the groin or front of the hip that gets worse with activity but goes away at rest

This could be a sign of a strained hip flexor. To help relieve this pain, there are exercises you can do at home to strengthen the injured tendons. Sometimes a short period of rest and modified activities can help as well.

If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor.

Pain that is severe and gets worse over time. If your hip pain is severe and you cannot walk around normally, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor.

Remember, pain in the groin is often coming from the hip joint itself – osteoarthritis or stress fracture. Pain on the outside of the hip is usually a type of bursitis, although pain for an extended period of time could suggest a gluteal muscle or tendon problem. And pain in the buttock, especially if it radiates down the thigh into the leg, could be a problem with your lower back. And be very careful about groin pain that is increasing quickly in a runner or running athlete.


If you think you may have a serious hip condition, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. They can help determine if your hip pain is something more serious than just bursitis or a muscle strain.

We are looking for 5 patients with hip pain who want to get significantly better in the next 30 days, without cortisone shots, physical therapy, or surgery. Click this link and enter the term ‘Interested’ in the description box to learn more.

This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.