First Time User? Enroll now.
*Vaccine availability and appointments* | Visitor and mask policies | Additional COVID-19 resources.
Home > Health Library > Hip Injuries, Age 12 and Older
A hip injury and pain can make it hard to walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint ( snapping hip) may bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment may be all that is needed for minor hip symptoms.
To better understand hip injuries, it may be helpful to know how the hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
Injuries are a common cause of hip problems. You may not remember a specific injury, especially if your symptoms began slowly or during everyday activities.
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type, and severity of the injury as well as your age, general health, and activities (such as work, sports, hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures; application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy; medicines; or surgery.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Major trauma is any event that can cause very serious injury, such as:
Pain in adults and older children
Symptoms of infection may include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and this change does not go away.
Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur after a sudden illness or injury.
Adults and older children often have several symptoms of shock. These include:
With severe bleeding, any of these may be true:
With moderate bleeding, any of these may be true:
With mild bleeding, any of these may be true:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Put direct, steady pressure on the wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.
Home treatment may help relieve hip pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Do not smoke. Smoking may delay healing because it interferes with blood supply and tissue healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
If you have a cast, see cast care tips.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
The following tips may prevent hip injuries.
Hip injuries can happen from falls. Do all you can to prevent falls.
If you live alone, you may want to get an emergency contact bracelet or necklace. If you fall and can't get to the phone, you can press the button on your bracelet or necklace. This calls 911 or an emergency number for you so that help can be sent.
Warm up and stretch before exercising to prevent muscle strains and injury.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.