Hip Pain Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms that you experience can provide your PEAK Practitioner with valuable information about the cause of your pain. It can help to determine whether your pain is from bone, ligament, tendon, nerve, muscle and/or bursa.

Pain is typically located at the groin, buttock, outside and/or front of the hip. It is also possible for the hip to refer pain down to other areas of the body such as the thigh and knee.

  • Dull aching pain
  • Sharp pain
  • Shooting pain
  • Clicking
  • Giving way
  • Catching/locking
  • Pins and needles/tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Hip Pain Causes

Hip pain can be caused by a traumatic event such as a fall or twist on the leg, or have no particular mechanism for it to occur. When a cause cannot be identified it is usually due to a significant change in activity/load, reduced muscle strength/control or reduced mobility of the hip. Stress, fatigue and poor sleep can also contribute to pain levels and may need to be addressed to improve symptoms. The structures that can become affected by these causes include bone, muscle, ligament, cartilage, tendon, bursa and nerve. These are discussed in more detail below.

PEAK is committed to working with our patients to move them out of pain and to prevent it from recurring. Our prevention classes and running assessment are great ways to address any imbalances in strength, mobility, control and technique to prevent the occurence of hip and other areas of pain.

Types of Hip Pain

Hip Joint Pain

Hip joint pain incompasses injury to either the bone or cartilage of the hip such as osteoarthritis, labral tears, femoracetabular impingement and fractures. Osteoarthritis is typically found in the older population and is caused by the wearing of cartilage that covers the end of bone. One of the roles of cartilage is to act as a shock absorber with weight bearing, therefore it can become painful if affected. Both labral tears and femoracetabular impingement can occur throughout the population however it is important to note they can commonly present on scans and be symptom free. Fractures can occur from a traumatic event or can also develop over time from increased load, known as stress fractures.

Hip Muscle Pain

Muscle pain of the hip usually will involve a strain to the muscle from an event such as sprinting, kicking or change of direction. Common areas for this include the hip flexor (front of hip), adductor (groin/inner thigh) and hamstring (buttock/posterior thigh). These injuries usually occur during sport and exercise due to the higher demands placed on the body. Muscle pain can also be experienced if there is any weakness, reduced control or reduced mobility at the hip that then leads to a build up in muscle tension.

Outer Hip Pain

(This should be combined with side hip pain as these terms are used interchangeably with each other. May be appropriate to have Side/Outer Hip pain)

Side Hip Pain

The main source of side/outer hip pain is greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) which is talked about in more detail below. It is typically characterised with localised tenderness through the outside of the hip. GTPS is most commonly found in middle aged females and can be influenced by a change in hormones at this age. Other sources of this pain can include referral from the lower back and osteoarthritis.

Hip Nerve Pain

The main nerves located at the hip are the femoral and sciatic nerve. Both of these are common areas to experience pain and can be characterized by pins and needles, numbness and weakness. Pain can also be described as shooting, burning or a dull ache that is difficult to localise. These symptoms can occur due to repetitive activity or a traumatic event, such as a sports injury, and can occur in anyone in the population. It is also possible for the lower back to refer pain down into the hip. An in depth examination from your PEAK Practitioner will help to determine whether this is the cause of your symptoms.

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What is Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome?

Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS) is characterized by pain on the side of the hip and is the source of irritation from the gluteal tendons and/or bursa. It typically starts from no particular cause of onset and instead can gradually be brought on by a change in load/activity. It can cause pain while walking, going from sitting to standing, climbing stairs and lying on your side. It is more common in middle aged females as it has been found to be influenced by a change in hormone levels. Education around aggravating activities and a specific exercise program can be effective in treating this condition.

Hip Pain Assessment

For an initial assessment of the hip you will be asked about your area of pain including when/how it started, how it has progressed, aggravating & easing activities and your previous injury history. From there you will be taken through a physical examination that involves looking at functional activities such as squatting, walking, running, hip range of motion, balance, hip strength, hip control and nerve testing if indicated. It is not a requirement for you to see a GP prior to your appointment at PEAK. The injury can be diagnosed by a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor.

Hip Pain Treatment

Physiotherapy for Hip Pain

Physiotherapy  can provide great benefit to hip pain. Your PEAK Physiotherapist will help determine the most appropriate treatment and work with you to formulate a treatment plan. This may include advice and education around the injury, soft tissue release, dry needling, joint mobilisation and exercises to improve strength, mobility and/or control.

Massage Therapy for Hip Pain

Massage Therapy can be helpful for hip pain in reducing muscle tension around the hip and help to improve mobility if this is indicated. Your massage therapist will help guide whether you may benefit from getting a further assessment of the hip from a Physiotherapist.

Hip Pain During Pregnancy

Hip pain during pregnancy is common due to changes that occur throughout the body through this time. This can be due to the relaxing of ligaments around the joints that are preparing itself for the baby’s growth. With the hip being regularly used during weight bearing it can be affected and lead to pain. If you are pregnant and experiencing hip pain our Women’s Health Physiotherapist can help in determining the best course of treatment to settle your symptoms. These may include bracing, soft tissue release and/or exercise.

Hip Pain After Running

As the hip is our primary weight bearing joint it can be an area that becomes painful when running. Poor strength, mobility and control as well as significant changes in load can increase your risk of developing hip pain. Having specific exercises to target these deficits, having your run assessed (see running assessment) and/or having a custom running program developed for you can help to address this.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Hip pain when sleeping can be caused by the position you are lying in, for example, GTPS can be painful lying on your side due to the pressure on the outside of the hip. When a hip is painful sleeping it can also indicate inflammation at the hip if it is waking you up without changing position. This is something your PEAK Practitioner will be able to identify and educate you further on and put a plan in place to get you out of pain.

A hip injury can definitely cause knee pain. Typically it is weakness or reduced mobility at the hip that will then add extra load to the knee and produce pain. A detailed assessment by your PEAK Practitioner can help determine this and guide the most suitable management.

There are a range of treatment approaches that can be used for hip pain including massage, trigger point release, dry needling, mobilisation, stretching and strengthening. Advice and education around the injury/condition can be invaluable in helping your pain and symptoms at the hip which your PEAK Practitioner will be able to provide you with.

Everyone’s experience after a hip replacement is variable and some will progress quicker than others. Your PEAK Practitioner can help advise you on whether your pain behaviour and levels are unusual for the stage you are at post surgery and are able to direct you to the most appropriate next steps to address this.

Sciatica can cause hip pain and is typically located in the buttocks usually referring down into the leg. The cause of sciatica can be both from either the lower back or hip so it is important to get this properly assessed to determine the most appropriate treatment for your symptoms.

Our locations


PEAK Hawthorne opened in 2012 and was extended and renovated in 2020. You see the same team whether we see you at Hawthorne or one of our other clinics.  Hawthorne offers private treatment rooms and a spacious exercise area incorporating the latest equipment and technology, unrestricted single level access and off-street parking. We also provide HICAPS for real-time private health claiming.

Our locations

New Farm

PEAK New Farm opened in August 2019. You see the same team whether we see you at New Farm or one of our other clinics. New Farm offers private treatment rooms and a spacious exercise area incorporating the latest equipment and technology, unrestricted single level access and off-street parking. We also provide HICAPS for real-time private health claiming.


5/171 Riding Road,
Hawthorne, QLD, 4171
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Opening Hours -
6 days per week
  • Monday - Friday: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Saturday: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

To make a booking outside of business hours, please use our form by clicking here.

New Farm

1/15 Lamington Street,
New Farm, QLD, 4005
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Opening Hours -
6 days per week
  • Monday - Thursday: 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Friday - Saturday: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

To make a booking outside of business hours, please use our form by clicking here.