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What Should I Do About My Side Hip Pain?

dr andrew dutton what should i do about my side hip pain
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We rely on our hips to move freely, and hip pain can seriously impact our mobility and overall health. In addition to carrying most of the body’s weight, it is prone to wear and tear. Even worse, we often shrug off any pain we feel, thinking it’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, you may miss an underlying health issue if you ignore hip pain.

Hip pain can be classified into several types, but side hip pain is the most common. The good news is that conservative measures can help curb pain and swelling.

In this blog, we’ll tackle remedies you can try to relieve side hip pain and when you should visit your doctor.

1. What causes side hip pain?

Pain felt on the side of the hips is commonly tied to the soft tissues rather than the hip joint. This means that the problem stems from the ligaments, tendons or muscles.

Many factors can cause side hip pain, including hip bursitis, tendonitis, tight muscles in the hip or buttocks, spine problems, and overuse injury.

Hip bursitis. This condition occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac near a joint, becomes swollen. It’s located at the lateral point or outside of the hip, known as the greater trochanter. When you have hip bursitis, the side of your hip feels achy or stiff, becomes even more painful when you move or press on it, and looks red and swollen.

Tendonitis. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Though they are solid and thick, they can become irritated and inflamed. The long-term wear and tear of the hip and injury are the common causes of tendonitis, making it harder for you to lift your leg to the side.

Tight muscles in the hips and buttocks. In some cases, when the muscles surrounding the hip joints become tight and contract, it can cause pain on the side or lateral part of the hips.

Spine problems. Another cause of side hip pain is when there’s a pinched nerve in the spinal column. Also, when bones in the spine rub together, it can cause pain on the side of the hips.

2. Symptoms of side hip pain

Hip pain differs depending on the location and cause of the injury. For example, in lateral hip pain or side hip pain, the pain develops suddenly or gradually.

Some activities can aggravate the pain, including crossing the legs, lying on the affected side of the body, standing or leaning on one leg, sitting down, walking up the stairs, and climbing in or out of a car.

3. What can be done to relieve side hip pain

HHip pain can be debilitating if it’s not treated appropriately. Pain in the body acts as a signal to tell us there’s something wrong. Any pain in the hips should not be ignored.

Fortunately, when flare-ups of symptoms happen in the hips, a combination of rest, anti-inflammatory medicines, cold or warm compress, activity modification, and exercises calms the pain down.

Rest your hips

Pain in the hip is a severe and debilitating condition that can be managed easily if it is not persistently re-aggravated.

Rest does not mean doing anything at all and staying in bed. It would help if you reduced your activities as soon as your hip pain begins, but try to move as much as your symptoms allow. You can maintain your current fitness levels, but make sure you don’t overwork your hips. Instead, let the joint rest and rejuvenate.

Take pain relievers

Pain relievers can help alleviate pain and discomfort, promoting faster healing of the affected hip area. Aside from analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain at the same time, decrease inflammation and prevent blood clots.

Apply cold and heat compress

Applying heat and ice can be beneficial in the management of musculoskeletal pain. Most doctors recommend using an ice pack when the pain stems from an injury. Apply on the injured side of the hip in 15-minute increments throughout the day.

Meanwhile, doctors recommend applying heat on the affected area if the pain comes from arthritis or inflammation in the soft tissues. You can also take hot baths and showers to reduce swelling and pain quickly.

Modify your activities

To hasten the recovery of your hips from injury or swelling, modify your recreational and daily activities. Further, avoid repeated hip bending or putting pressure on the joint.

To minimise pain while sitting, open the seat angle, so the knees are below the hip area, but maintain a good upright posture. Lastly, don’t work through pain! Instead, rest if it’s needed.

Perform core strength exercises for side hip pain

Regarding the side hips, it’s essential to stretch, strengthen, and support. However, the complexity of hip injuries requires a proper diagnosis before strengthening exercises can begin. Hence, visit your doctor to evaluate your injury and exercise recommendations.

Exercises that increase flexibility and strength can relieve hip pain but shouldn’t aggravate it. If the movement causes discomfort, stop it and rest. After, you can start again but at a gentler and slower pace.

When to see a doctor for side hip pain

Some hip conditions are more urgent than others and need medical attention. For example, if you experience a sudden onset of pain, have been in an accident, are unable to bear weight or move, and the joint appears to be deformed, you need to visit the emergency room for proper treatment.

When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor if hip pain affects your daily life.

The Takeaway

If your hip pain does not respond to home remedies, you should consider consulting an orthopaedic specialist for an assessment. Keep in mind that if a hip problem is left untreated, it can worsen and progress to a debilitating condition.

The musculoskeletal system is highly interconnected; if one area is affected, it can increase stress in another. As a result, ignoring any hip dysfunction heightens the risk of injury to other parts of the body.

What started as a simple hip pain can cascade into multiple injuries, making it more difficult to find relief and stay active. Take time to heal and consult an orthopaedic surgeon for a thorough evaluation of your hip pain. 

We hope this blog has shed light on the common remedies for side hip pain. To learn more about your hip ailments and how to manage them, please book a consultation with A/Professor Andrew Dutton by calling us at (+65) 6836 8000.

Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic Insurance


The Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic offers minimally invasive and surgical treatments for sports-related injuries and orthopaedic conditions.

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About Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton

A/Professor Dutton, also known as, has been in clinical practice since 1996 after graduating from Marist College, Canberra and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. A/Professor Dutton has worked at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, and the St. George Hospital, Sydney, before completing his orthopaedic surgery training in Singapore. He is currently an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

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