Why does My Hip Hurt When Walking?

Pain in hip may be due to numerous reasons. The pain may be felt only at a single point on the hip or it may extend into the lower back or the leg. The pain may be intense or sharp or you may feel it as dull and achy. It may either be felt on one side or on both sides. It can be made worse by prolonged walking.

Causes of Hip Pain when Walking

  1. Osteoarthritis

It is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs due to gradual wear and tear of the protective cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones in the hip joint.

The various factors that increase the risk of OA are:

The symptoms develop gradually over time. They include:

You should visit your physician if you suffer from stiffness or pain in hip joint that does not feel better.


The aim of treatment is to manage symptoms using lifestyle modifications, medicines, physical therapy and surgery. Performing exercise and maintaining optimal weight are the most important methods to manage OA. Your physician may recommend:

If pain is not relieved by conservative treatments, cortisone injections are given in the affected hip joint. In hip joint replacement surgery, the surgeon replaces the damaged surfaces of the joint with metal and plastic parts.

  1. Trochanteric Bursitis

This is another problem that can lead to hip pain when walking. It is characterized by inflammation of the bursa situated on the outside of the hip.

Causes of Trochanteric bursitis:


You should visit a physician if you experience these symptoms for greater than two weeks without any improvement.


Trochanteric bursitis usually gets better gradually by itself. Conservative measures including taking rest, applying ice to the affected area and taking an OTC painkiller can ease the pain. If your condition is not improved by conservative measures alone, you may need:

  1. Hip fracture

Another cause of hip pain when walking is hip fracture. It is a serious injury that has life-threatening complications. The risk of a fractured hip increases with age due to presence of osteoporosis in the elderly. Poor vision, balance problems and multiple medicines also make the elderly prone to fall easily, which is the most common cause of a fractured hip.


Hip fractures can occur in people of any age group by a severe injury such as in a car accident. In the elderly, it is most often caused due to a fall. In persons whose bones are very weak, hip fracture may occur just by standing and twisting the leg.



You may remain immobile due to hip fracture for a long duration; hence, the complications are:


Treatment is usually a combination of medicine, surgery and rehab.

  1. Sciatica

Sciatica is another cause of hip pain when walking. It is characterized by pain which radiates on the path traversed by sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve originates from lower back and branches to go into the hips, buttocks and then down the legs.

It occurs when a bone spur present on the vertebrae, a herniated disc or spinal stenosis compresses the sciatic nerve.


Pain radiating from lower spine to the buttock down the back of leg is main symptom of sciatica. The pain may range from aching to sharp, burning to excruciating pain. Pain is usually present on one side. It may be associated with symptoms of tingling, numbness and weakness of muscles in the foot or leg that is affected.


Mild pain usually gets better with time. If pain is not better your physician may suggest the following:

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