If you have hip pain while walking, it could be due to a number of reasons. Sometimes the pain is felt only at the point of the hip, but it can also extend into the leg or low back. The pain may be sharp and intense, or it may be described as achy and widespread. It may be felt on one side or both sides. Prolonged walking can make it feel worse.
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Bursitis and arthritis are both common causes of hip pain while walking. With severe arthritis, the pain you feel while walking can linger even after you stop and sit down. Sometimes the pain will get worse after sitting for too long or at night, when lying on the affected hip. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage becomes worn away, leaving raw bone on bone without any padding. Bursitis is irritation caused by inflammation of a bursa, a small jelly-like sac that acts as a cushion between your hip bone and the overlying soft tissues and muscles. Other causes can include tendinitis, strain or sprain, or sciatica.
If you visit your health-care provider, he will want to know if the pain is on one or both sides, if you have pain elsewhere, if the pain began suddenly or slowly, if you had a fall or injury, and what activities seem to make the pain better or worse. He may suggest that X-rays of the hip are necessary, advise over-the-counter medications, or give you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory.
Risk factors for hip bursitis and arthritis include repetitive stress or overuse injuries hip injuries, a spinal disease such as scoliosis, differences in leg length, previous surgeries or bone spurs and calcium deposits. Repetitive injuries can arise from running, bicycling or standing for long periods of time. Hip injuries can result from falling, bumping your hip bone or lying on one side for an extended period of times. While bursitis can affect anyone, it is more common in women and middle-aged or elderly people.
Prevention is aimed at steering clear of behaviors and activities that may worsen the inflammation. Avoiding repetitive activities that put stress on the hips and losing weight are effective at decreasing pain. Make sure your shoes fit properly and consult with a shoe-fitting expert or orthopedist to consider using orthotics if you have differences in leg length. Maintaining strength and flexibility of the legs and hip muscles will help alleviate discomfort.
Consult your health-care provider if your hip pain limits your everyday activities or interferes with your ability to lift or move your legs. If your hip pain continues while you are resting and is not relieved by medications, other treatments may need to be considered.