“Why Do I Have a Burning Pain in My Hip?”

At DPT, we treat hip pain every day, and occasionally a patient will report a “burning pain in my hip.” This experience can feel unfamiliar and distressing and may indeed indicate underlying medical or biomechanical issues. There can be any number of potential causes for a burning sensation in the hip, so let’s look at a few of those and discuss diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Burning Pain in Hip

Common Causes for Burning Pain in Hip

  1. Nerve Impingement or Neuropathy
  • Meralgia Paresthetica: This condition occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is compressed, leading to burning, tingling, or numbness on the outer thigh. It often results from prolonged sitting, obesity, or wearing tight clothing.
  • Sciatica: Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause burning pain radiating from the lower back through the hip and down the leg.
  1. Muscle Strain or Overuse
  • Iliopsoas Tendonitis: Inflammation of the iliopsoas tendon can cause hip pain, particularly in athletes or individuals who engage in repetitive hip flexion.
  • Gluteal Muscle Strain: Overuse or acute injury to the gluteal muscles can result in a burning sensation due to inflammation and muscle damage.
  1. Bursitis
  • Trochanteric Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa over the greater trochanter of the hip can lead to burning pain, especially noticeable when lying on the affected side or during activities involving hip movement.
  1. Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis: Degenerative changes in the hip joint can cause chronic pain and a burning sensation due to inflammation and cartilage wear.
  1. Labral Tear
  • Damage to the acetabular labrum, the cartilage surrounding the hip socket, can cause pain, a catching sensation, and a burning feeling in the hip area. This is often due to acute injury or repetitive hip motion.


There may also be other causes such as disease or other medical conditions for which hip pain may be a symptom.


Our Diagnostic Approach

We will usually begin by taking your medical history and assessing the onset, duration, and characteristics of the pain, along with any associated activities or injuries. Physical examination usually involves palpating the area of pain, checking your range of motion and other specific maneuvers to identify pain sources.

Depending on what we find during examination, we may refer you back to your physician for further diagnostic testing, which might include:

  • X-rays to assess bone abnormalities or degeneration
  • MRI to assess soft tissue abnormalities (useful for diagnosing labral tears or bursitis)
  • Electromyography (EMG) to help evaluate nerve function and detect neuropathies
Burning Sensation in Hip

Physical Therapy for Hip Pain: What to Expect

Your treatment for may include:

  • Manual Therapy: Techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and myofascial release to alleviate pain and improve function.
  • Exercise Programs: Targeted exercises to strengthen the hip and core muscles, improve posture, and enhance flexibility.
  • Modalities: Use of heat, ice, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Assessment and Education on postural habits
  • Adjustment of sleep position to achieve neutral hip alignment to prevent stress on joints and muscles

In addition to physical therapy, your physician may recommend a variety of interventions including medication and even surgery, if needed.

Strategies for Preventing Hip Pain

  1. Ergonomic Adjustments: We can help recommend ways to ensure proper posture and ergonomics at work or during daily activities to prevent strain on the hip.
  2. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity to maintain muscle strength and joint flexibility, focusing on balanced workout routines that include stretching and strengthening. Your physical therapist can always find creative ways to help get you moving safely and productively.
  3. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the hip joints and associated structures.
  4. Protective Gear: We can help recommend appropriate footwear and protective gear during sports or high-impact activities to prevent injuries as well as moving around in your day-to-day life.

If you are experiencing that “burning sensation” in your hip or any other persistent hip pain, call us! Whether you just need a free consultation to discuss a path forward or are ready to begin treatment, we are here to help you get better, faster!


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