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Hip pain when walking – causes and how to treat it


Our hip joints are the biggest joints in our bodies, and they are what helps us to move fluidly whilst running, walking, dancing and more! Whilst we are usually able to put our hip joints through a lot of wear and tear, there are occasions where repeated use can lead to pain or injury.

Walking, especially over long distances or periods of time, can cause strain on your hips, leading to pain in or around the joint. In this article we’ll take a closer look at some of the causes and symptoms of hip pain.

What are the symptoms of hip pain?

Depending on the type of cause of injury you have sustained, the level of pain and other symptoms you experience in your hips when walking can vary. Here are a couple of common hip injuries that affect walkers.

Muscle or tendon strain

Your hip joints are supported by muscles, tendons and ligaments. If you are walking frequently and over long distances, you may be putting repeated strain on these muscles and tendons, which will begin to cause pain and inflammation around the hip.

Symptoms of muscle or tendon strain:

The main symptoms of a muscle or tendon strain will be sharp pain and inflammation, particularly when walking or doing other repetitive movements. The muscle may feel tight and make movement feel difficult or limited.

Bursitis

Another cause of pain in the hips from walking or other repetitive activities is bursitis. This happens when the bursae - which are sacs of fluid found between your muscles, bone and tendons and are designed to relieve friction – become inflamed.

Symptoms of bursitis:

The symptoms of bursitis of the hip include pain around the joint and tenderness. You may also experience redness and swelling, and a dull pain after sitting or standing for long periods.

Other causes of hip pain

If you have an underlying joint condition such as arthritis this will increase the likelihood of you experiencing hip pain when walking. Those more advanced in age are also more likely to suffer from pain associated with repetitive movement as bones become less stable and more susceptible to breaks and fractures as we age.

How to treat hip pain

If your hip pain is mild, you can use over the counter medications such as ibuprofen to help reduce pain and inflammation. Applying an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to the affected area for 15 minutes at a time every few hours will also help to ease pain and swelling.

If the pain doesn’t reduce after a few days of resting, or if you are unable to walk, you should contact your doctor immediately as there may be a more serious injury causing the pain.

Exercises to help with hip pain

If you suffer from hip pain caused by arthritis, you should focus on low impact exercises that help to build strength around the joint without applying too much pressure. Swimming is a great low impact exercise to help improve flexibility and range of motion.

If overuse from walking is causing you to have hip pain, ensure that you stretch and warm up adequately before starting your walk. Making sure you have suitable footwear such as comfortable walking or hiking shoes will also help to avoid any unnecessary stress being put on your hip joints.