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How Do I Treat Hip Swelling?

Most cases of hip swelling can be easily treated through home remedies, such as icing the joint.
In more serious cases of hip swelling, it may be necessary to visit a doctor so that they can conduct a physical examination to diagnose the problem and determine treatment options.
An X-ray of the hips.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2014
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Pain and swelling in the hip can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases, make it impossible to walk or bend properly. Most cases of hip swelling are mild and easily treated at home through various remedies such as icing the joint, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, and engaging in light exercises. In severe instances of swelling or pain, however, a trip to a doctor's office or emergency room may be necessary to check for serious damage to bones or ligaments and the presence of underlying medical conditions. Physicians can conduct physical examinations to make diagnoses and determine the best treatment options for people who suffer from hip problems.

Hip swelling is usually the result of inflammation of the tendons, ligaments, or cartilage in and around the hip joint. It is usually caused by an injury, such as a fall, a direct blow to the hip, or an awkward twist, though certain medical conditions such as arthritis, lupus, or cancer can also result in swollen tissue. A bruised hip is especially subjected to bursitis, which is inflammation and swelling of the protective fluid-filled sacs around the hip joint. For bursitis and most other minor hip injuries that result in swelling, home treatments are often enough to promote recovery in one to two weeks.

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Doctors usually recommend that people with hip swelling rest as much as possible for the first few days after symptoms arise. Excessive movement or walking with a swollen hip can cause inflammation to worsen. Regular applications of ice packs help to relieve swelling and numb local pain. Many people benefit from taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications, such as acetaminophen. When swelling begins to subside, individuals can engage in stretches and light walking to regain mobility and strength. Most people without serious injuries or illnesses fully recover in about two weeks.

A serious injury to the hip, such as a dislocation or fracture, requires immediate medical treatment. Doctors often inject high-strength anti-inflammatory and pain medicines directly into a joint. Often, a fracture or torn ligament necessitates surgery to correct problems and promote recovery. Following medical or surgical procedures for hip problems, people may be instructed to rest and ice their injuries as well as attend physical rehabilitation therapy sessions to build strength.

A person who notices hip swelling that is not the result of an injury should contact a doctor immediately to check for underlying health problems. Doctors can conduct physical examinations, order blood tests, x-ray joints, and gather information about a person's medical history to determine causes like osteoarthritis or leukemia. Once the cause of the swelling has been identified, physicians can prescribe the appropriate medications or surgical procedures necessary to relieve symptoms.

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Discuss this Article

anon345194
Post 5

I fell on concrete six years ago, and a few months later a swelling appeared. I showed my doctor, he asked if it hurt, and it did not, so he told me not to worry about it.

Now I am aching and the swelling never went away, in fact it feels like it is filled with fluid and is larger. I see a new doctor next month, but I'm worried and miserable.

ddubois1970
Post 4

About a month ago, I woke up one morning with my left hip swollen, about the size of a large grapefruit. The swelling was very obvious. Not too long after that, I started to experience pain in my hip with walking, but especially when I would get up to walk after sitting for more than 30 minutes.

I am already on Celebrex for DDD in my lumbar spine. I gave it a couple weeks and there was no improvement so I made an appointment with my provider. She did an exam and felt that it was due to my inflammation in my piriformis. I started the stretching that she recommended and the massage therapy as well. I've had no improvement with the pain or the swelling, so I got a second opinion and that provider ordered an MRI. I got the results today and there was nothing. It was completely normal.

I am not imagining this swelling or pain so now I am not sure what to do. I had labs drawn as well, and my RA factor, ANA, CRP were all normal. I have been in the medical field for 22 years and I am just so afraid that they are going to think that I am just like any other crazy patient with negative test results but complains of pain and swelling. I am not sure what else I need to do. Maybe a bone scan. Any advice?

anon185119
Post 3

I play football and got hit pretty hard in the hip. It's been swelling for a couple days now and it seems the swelling doesn't want to go down. i have been taking ibuprofen and using icy hot and it's still swollen. what should i do? i have a game in 48 hours.

dimpley
Post 2

I’ve heard that hip swelling can be very dangerous, and can even indicate something like cancer or lupus! That’s pretty scary! I was wondering, though – can you actually see the swelling obviously? I am a little bit of a hippy lady, and so it’s hard to tell if the cause of my hip pain is swelling of the hip or something inside that I can’t see (like a muscle or bone injury). Any thoughts? I probably ought to see a doctor, but I hate to go running to one every time my nose runs!

poppyseed
Post 1

I experienced quite a bit of hip joint pain on the right side after I had my son. I never really had that problem with my first child (maybe because I was in labor 36 hours with her and everything hurt pretty badly), but I noticed it a lot with the second. It almost felt like my hip was out of place or something, but a Goody powder helped a lot. I guess it helped the swelling go down along with having a pain reducer. Over time, the discomfort lessened and lessened until now I only feel that same kind of pain if I’ve been on my feet for hours or if I turn the wrong way.

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