Lateral Hip Pain

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


Lateral Hip Pain
Lateral Hip Pain - pain on the outside of your hip

Lateral hip pain can be very confusing as it can be associated with hip movement, leg movement or back movement. Clients are often unsure where their hip pain is coming from.

What do we mean by lateral hip pain - well it is where you have pain on the outer side of your hip. Often it can run down the outside of your thigh to the leg and knee. It can flare up suddenly, or build up over time. Treatment through manual therapy works well though it can take a bit of time to recover. However, with lateral hip pain there is an underlying cause or source, and it is important to identify and remove the cause, to prevent it from happening again.

It has in my experience, has three main sources:

  • Hip Joint dysfunction;
  • Lower back disorder;
  • Iliotibial band (which runs over the hip) disorder.

Now, let’s look at each one of these in turn.

Types of lateral hip pain

  1. Hip joint dysfunction and lateral hip pain - is when the problem is in your hip joint. Commonly this is due to a joint restriction and muscle imbalance, which if left untreated may develop into arthritis in your hip joint.

    Treatment requires early detection through examination and x-ray diagnosis. Manual therapy and strengthening exercises are a necessity in the treatment and long term resolution of this type of lateral hip pain.

  2. Lower back pain and lateral hip pain - is when a movement disorder in your back causes an impingement on a nerve resulting in a referral of pain into your hip. Common causes are disc, joint, muscle, nerve and ligament injuries.

    Treatment needs to be directed towards your back in this situation using manual therapy and exercises to resolve your hip pain.

  3. Iliotibial band disorder and lateral hip pain - is when you develop tightness in your iliotibial band where it runs over your hip. This is generally due to poor posture and movement patterns causing the tightened tissue to become inflamed over time. This causes lateral hip pain and burning.

Lateral hip pain can be also be symptom of, but should not be confused with Hip Bursitis.

Treatment of Lateral Hip Pain

Rest, heat and ice can help in the early stages of an episode of lateral hip pain, but medium to longer term treatment usually needs to be directed towards posture correction and muscle balancing techniques and strengthening exercises to remove the cause. Failure to treat the cause in this condition may result in knee pain and lower leg pain also.

The successful management of lateral hip pain relies on an accurate diagnosis followed by appropriate treatments and exercises. You will need help from a chartered physiotherapist to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment. Failure to find this may lead to re-occurrence and a more serious presentation in the future. The cause of your lateral hip pain must be eliminated to reduce the chance of re-occurrence

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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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