Hip and Leg Pain

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Hip Pain


It has been my experience that hip pain is commonly associated with leg pain or knee pain. Hip and Leg pain often go together and the reason may not be directly related to the hip or knee at all! So, what is the connection between your hip and leg pain? Well, it might take a bit of investigation to find the answer. Let me give you three examples by way of explanation.

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Common causes of Hip and Leg Pain

Leg pain referring from the lower back and hip

  • The hip joint refers to the knee joint through the nerve connection that they share. You may have hip and knee pain combined, or you may have knee pain alone where in fact the root of the pain is coming from your hip.

While this lateral hip pain connection may not be apparent on the surface, it illustrates just how important a correct diagnosis of your condition is! If your knee pain is coming from your hip joint, it is the hip that must be treated - not your knee!

  • Another presentation of hip and leg pain which I treat regularly is where your lower back is the main source. If the joint or disc problem is higher up in your lower back, you may get pain radiating across your hip and down the front of the thigh as far as your knee. If the joint or disc problem is at the base of your lower back then you may experience pain down the outside of your entire leg.

Treatment in this type of presentation needs to be directed to your lower back for hip pain relief.

Hip and leg pain from flat feet

The other common presentation that I see is due to poor biomechanics and flat feet. If your feet are flat, then your weight is falling inwards resulting in excess strain over the inner leg. Generally, knee and hip ache are common complaints with this type of condition. Standing or walking for any length of time aggravates these symptoms. Treatment here needs to be directed at correcting your flat feet through orthotic prescription and followed by suitable stability exercises.

Hip and leg pain in pregnancy

This type of pain is also common in pregnancy. This is due to excess movement in the pelvis associated with hormones related to pregnancy - affecting the ligaments of your pelvis especially. If movement of one side of your pelvis is greater than the other, a movement disorder to your sacro-iliac joint or pubic-symphysis joint may result. Pain in the pelvis, hip and legs often accompanies this disorder. Treatment needs to be directed towards the pelvis and a pelvic brace specific to pregnancy may be required. Seek medical help for advice and assistance. (see Back Pain and Pregnancy)


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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