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Hip pain in Reading

Get fast access to tailored hip pain treatment in Reading

If you experience hip pain, you might struggle to enjoy simple everyday activities, or even your favourite hobby. There are many different reasons for hip pain, from those that will resolve on their own, to those that need the input and management of a hip pain specialist.

This page will help you understand some of the reasons you might have hip pain, how a diagnosis can be made, and how it can be treated.

If you come to the Circle Reading Hospital for treatment of your hip pain, you can be assured that the expert hip surgeons who cares for you will help treat, manage, and even sometimes eliminate your hip pain. Whether you need medication, physiotherapy, or surgery, you can be confident that we strive to provide the best outcome for you.

Our hip pain specialists are supported by a full multidisciplinary team, including radiologists, anaesthetists, nurses, and physiotherapists. Everyone you meet is dedicated to supporting you and making you feel safe and well cared for.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball, known as the head of the femur, is located at the top of the thigh bone. The ball fits into a cup-shaped socket in the pelvis known as the acetabulum.

They are covered in a smooth shock-absorbing substance called cartilage, where the two surfaces meet. This allows the two parts of the hip joint to move over each other in a frictionless manner.

The hip joint is surrounded by a membrane and filled with a thin layer of synovial fluid for lubrication. The outside is encapsulated by tendons and muscles.

Pain from your hip joint can be due to damage to one or more of these structures.

This is why it is important to consult a hip specialist, who will be able to investigate your hip pain and provide a clear diagnosis and treatment plan.

Hip pain can be felt in a number of places, including:

  • Inside the joint
  • On the skin overlying the hip
  • In the groin
  • Radiating to the knee, back or buttocks

In addition to pain, disorders of the hip can be associated with a reduced range of movement of the hip, a feeling of something ‘catching’ when trying to move, and a reduction in the activities that you can undertake.

Your first Circle Health Group consultation is an opportunity for you to get to know your hip pain specialist and the rest of the team.

Your consultant will be keen to understand your hip pain better, including when it started, how it has progressed, what makes it better or worse, and if it stops you from doing any activities that are important to you. They will examine your hip, getting you to move it and moving it themselves.

They may ask you to walk to see how this is affected. The consultant may suggest a number of different investigations which can be performed to help diagnose the cause of your pain and to decide on treatment options.

The consultation is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions that you might have to ensure that you feel fully informed about your condition and the plan to investigate and treat it. 

There are many different investigations that your specialist may request. The aim is to help come to the correct diagnosis for your hip pain and then to decide what is the most appropriate treatment.

The most common investigations are:

  • X-rays – these allow a picture to be taken of the bones of your hip joint. They will allow your specialist to get an idea of the anatomy of your joint and see any obvious changes to the joint space or bone structure
  • CT scan – this is sometimes used to get a better image from all angles of your hip
  • Ultrasound – this can help a specialist get a good look at certain tendons and other structures around the hip joint
  • MRI – produces excellent images, especially of soft tissues around the hip joint

Our hip surgeons have access to expert radiologists to assist in the interpretation of complex musculoskeletal imaging, to ensure that the correct diagnosis is found.

Other tests your surgeon may perform may include blood tests to look for signs of infection or inflammation.

There are many different causes of hip pain, including where the pain is referred to the hip from elsewhere.

Broadly, pain from the hip can be from two different groups of diseases — where there is damage or inflammation to the bones or overlying cartilage of the joint, and where there is damage to the soft tissues that are part of the joint structure.

“Hip pain can be due to a combination of your hip shape, the activities you do and genetic or biological factors”

 Dr Tom Pollard, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Circle Reading Hospital


Osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as ‘wear and tear’ on the joint. Either due to a lifetime of physical activity or due to slight differences in the anatomy of the hip joint, damage occurs to the cartilage that covers the bony surfaces of the hip.

As the cartilage gets damaged, it becomes less smooth for the joint to move over, and it begins to cause pain. In severe cases, the cartilage can be almost completely worn away.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes inflammation in joints. As the joint gets inflamed, it can damage the structures that make up the hip, especially the smooth cartilage surfaces.

In rheumatoid arthritis, other joints may be affected. Often the pain and stiffness are worse first thing in the morning.

Soft tissue causes of hip pain

There are many different structures that make up the hip joint, and pain can come from damage to any of these. It is most commonly due to a simple sprain or strain from overuse.

However, if what you feel was a simple sprain does not get better as it should, it is important to seek specialist advice to ensure that there is not another cause for your pain that may need treatment.

Other causes can include:

  • Tear to the acetabular labrum – the edge of the hip socket is made from a piece of cartilage called the labrum. This can be damaged or torn, especially in people who play high-energy sports. A tear can present with pain and a feeling of locking in the joint
  • Trochanteric bursitis – a fluid-filled sack that sits on the outside of the hip can become inflamed leading to pain
  • Iliopsoas tendonitis – inflammation of the tendon of one of the major muscles around the hip

Seeing one of our Circle Health Group specialists will help you to rule out other causes of hip pain, get diagnosed, and find the most suitable treatment for you.

Joint infection

Infection within the joint is rare, but can be found in people who have had a recent injury to the joint, surgery to the hip joint or who have impaired immune systems.

An infected joint may be hot, swollen and red. You might feel unwell or have a temperature.

If you suspect that you might have a joint infection, you should seek medical attention urgently.

Hip fracture

Fractures to the hip bones are most common in the elderly after a fall. They can occur in younger people, especially if involved in a heavy impact like a car crash.

There is usually severe pain in the hip, and you would be unable to walk. 

Hip pain is a very common condition, and many of us will experience it over the course of a lifetime. For a number of people, it will not last long and will resolve quickly.

However, for some people, what starts as a small discomfort can grow over time. If your hip pain has not gotten better or is getting worse, you should seek a specialist opinion.

There are two main groups that hip pain can be divided into.

Older hip pain patients

In this group, hip pain is very commonly due to osteoarthritis, leading to significant discomfort and interference in activities.

The aims of treatment are to get the patient back to a good level of function as soon as possible.

Younger hip pain patients

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Tom Pollard, explains that “it is important that young people see a specialist in young hip problems”.

Younger patients may well be concerned about the cause of the pain and what treatment may mean long term for their ability to maintain their levels of physical activity.

Younger patients can have damage to the hip, caused by the effects of exercise and compounded by differences in the anatomy of the hip.

Causes of pain in this group can include osteoarthritis and labral tears.

It is important to ensure that you consult an expert in young hip pain who cannot only take into account your current symptoms and lifestyle, but work with you to ensure that your treatment means that you can carry on doing the activities you enjoy in the future.

For all patients, there are a number of different interventions available. The interventions or operations needed depend on getting the correct diagnosis for your pain, which is why it is essential to consult a hip pain specialist.

Interventions can include:

  • Physiotherapy – one of the most important therapies for the management of hip pain. Physiotherapy can help you build up strength in the muscles around your hip, prepare you for surgery, or help your recovery afterwards.
  • Joint injections – these can contain local anaesthetic to numb pain and a steroid to reduce inflammation. For many patients, joint injections may produce only temporary relief.
  • Arthroscopy – this is keyhole surgery where a small camera is passed through a tiny cut into the hip joint. Here the surgeon can see what is causing your hip pain and perform surgery on bone or soft tissue.
  • Hip resurfacing – the head of the femur is trimmed and a covering fitted. A cup is placed in the pelvis for it to move within.
  • Hip replacement – the head of the femur is removed and an implant is placed inside the thigh bone. A new head is placed on this implant which moves within a cup placed in the socket in the pelvis.

The older hip pain patient

In older patients with osteoarthritis, the surgeon will talk through what they want to get from treatment. Often this is to restore their ability to do the activities that they enjoy — for example, walking or playing golf.

In these patients, particularly if there is significant osteoarthritis of the hip, a hip replacement may be the best option to meet their treatment goals. A hip replacement will allow them to return to the activities that are enjoyable for them.

The younger hip pain patient

If you are a younger hip pain patient, it is important to consult a specialist. They will be able to discuss with you not only what you want from treatment today, but also what you want in the future.

One of the questions that your surgeon will try to answer to plan your treatment is how much damage has occurred in the joint.

If mild to moderate damage has taken place, so-called ‘joint preserving’ surgery (where the joint is not replaced) may be an option. This is usually performed using keyhole surgery (arthroscopy). This view allows the surgeon to trim bone to make the hip joint fit together better, or repair soft tissue structures, such as a torn labrum.

If significant damage has occurred, the surgeon may suggest that a hip replacement is the best option to help your pain. Modern joint replacements last for a long time — in some cases, up to 30 years — and will often allow you a complete return to the activities that you enjoy once you have healed.

Younger patients may be concerned about subsequent operations to replace the joint as they get older. Coupled with the increasing lifespan of modern implants, joint revision surgery itself is now a routine procedure and should not be a cause for undue worry. 

If you have hip pain, you can be confident in the treatment you will receive at the Circle Reading Hospital[1] .

Our specialist hip surgeons are supported by a full team of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Everyone is committed to ensuring that you get the best result from your treatment and get you back to normal life as soon as possible.

Diagnosing your hip pain

Our hip pain specialists will listen to you, rather than make snap judgements about what you need. They will work with you to formulate a treatment plan that takes into account what is important to you.

If the time comes for you to need an operation, our team will be with you for the whole journey — making you feel supported and understood.

Leading hip pain specialists

We know that one of the most important concerns you will have is about getting the very best care for your hip pain.

This is why, if you visit Circle Reading Hospital, you will be seen by one of the leading specialists in the field. Our combination of excellent clinical leadership and team empowerment means that you can be sure of the very best care.

Our orthopaedic specialists have a reputation for being at the forefront of the latest technological advances, including being the first hospital in Europe to use the mi-eye 2 diagnostic device. This ensures that you will have access to the most current treatments to allow for your full recovery. 

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Mr Tom Pollard in May 2022. Next review due May 2025.

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