Hip and groin pain may result from injuries, such as a fracture or tear, or underlying conditions, such as endometriosis. Home remedies can help manage the pain, alongside seeking medical attention for underlying causes.
The groin is the area between the hips, the inner thighs, and the lower abdomen. Musculoskeletal issues begin in the bones, joints, or muscles. Those that cause hip and groin pain usually are sports injuries.
Some internal health problems that cause this pain include a hernia, endometriosis, or a cystic lesion.
This article details potential causes of groin and hip pain and their treatments.
This occurs when the cartilage in the hip joint wears away over time, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains. Gradually, the bones begin to rub together.
Symptoms of hip osteoarthritis include:
- pain that travels from the hip to the groin, where it can feel intense and persistent
- pain at the front of the hip
- pain at the back of the hip
- a clicking or grinding sensation in the hip joint
- pain that flares during activity, rainy weather, or both
- a decreased range of motion in the hip, possibly causing a limp
Treatment and management techniques
- physical therapy
- maintaining a moderate weight
- low impact exercise
- corticosteroid injections
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition where additional bone forms along the bones of the hip joint. As a result, the bones may rub together when the person moves.
When a person with FAI twists, turns, or squats, they may experience sharp, stabbing pain. At other times, the issue may cause dull aching.
Other symptoms include:
- a persistent feeling of stiffness in the hip and groin
- groin pain that comes and goes
When symptoms flare, it can help to take anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, and modify physical activities. If the pain persists, contact a doctor.
Treatment approaches include physical therapy and a procedure called arthroscopy, in which a surgeon uses a tiny camera to view the inside of the hip and repair any damage.
Conservative approaches include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- pain medication
- activity modification
- physical therapy
- corticosteroid injections
Surgical options can include:
- Labral debridement: This involves removing the labrum.
- Labral repair: This involves securing the labrum in its regular position.
- Labral reconstruction: This involves partially or fully removing the labrum and replacing it with a graft.
Osteonecrosis of the femoral head
This issue, known as ONFH, causes the hip bone to deteriorate and collapse due to a lack of blood in the area. The cartilage that covers the hip bones also deteriorates, resulting in arthritis.
Hip pain is typically the first symptom, and it may accompany a throbbing pain or dull ache in the buttocks and groin. As the condition progresses, it may be difficult to put weight on the hip, and any movement may be painful.
This progression can take several months to a year, and getting an early diagnosis leads to a better outlook.
Injuries may also cause hip and groin pain. Issues may be:
Acetabular labral tear
This is a tear in the labrum, a layer of cartilage along the rim of the hip joint socket. The resulting pain can extend to the groin.
- pain that develops gradually
- pain that is worse at night
- dull pain that can become sharp when the person walks, sits for long periods, or runs
- front hip or groin pain that can radiate to the knee
- a sensation of clicking, locking, or catching in the hip
A hip fracture occurs when the upper thigh bone breaks, usually from a fall or weak bones. Hip fractures are more common in those over age 65.
Breaking a bone in the body can be painful, and surgical treatment is usually required. Depending on the severity of the fracture, it may be too painful in the hip and groin to do daily activities such as moving around and walking.
Treatment often includes surgery to relieve pain and avoid complications that can occur, such as blood clots or bed sores.
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone, usually resulting from repetitive or overloaded activity.
Stress fractures usually heal by themselves in around three weeks, though more severe stress fractures can take three months or longer. Depending on where in the hip the stress fracture occurs, conservative treatment versus surgery may be recommended.
Internal causes of hip and groin pain may stem from underlying conditions or growths in other regions of the body. The issue may be:
An inguinal hernia
This involves part of the bowel pushing through a gap in the abdominal wall, typically just above the groin.
A person with an inguinal hernia needs surgery.
The surgeon will either push the protruding area of the bowel back inside the abdomen or remove it and close the gap in the abdominal wall.
When this tissue grows on the round ligaments of the pelvis, which support the uterus, it can cause pain that radiates to the groin, hips, legs, and buttocks.
The severity of the pain can change and may intensify according to the menstrual cycle.
The main treatment of endometriosis is hormone therapy, which works best when symptoms are not severe. A person can also take pain medication, such as ibuprofen.
If symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option.
As the cyst grows, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves, arteries, and veins, causing pain that radiates to the hip and groin.
Also, ovarian cysts, which form on the ovaries, can cause pain that radiates to the groin and hip.
Each of these types of cysts can accompany other health issues, affecting the choice of treatment.
The best approach, according to older studies, might
- NSAIDs or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- the application of heat
- physical therapy
- needle aspiration, which involves extracting fluid from the cyst, possibly for testing
The right approach at home depends on the cause of the pain, so it is best to check with a healthcare provider.
While waiting for guidance, a person might try:
- applying hot or cold compresses
- taking NSAIDs or Tylenol
To determine the cause of hip and groin pain, a doctor will consider the person’s medical history, then perform or request:
Anyone with hip and groin pain should see a doctor, especially if they are also experiencing any of the additional symptoms described above.
Pain often extends from the hip to the groin and vice versa because the structures are so close together. In some cases, the pain begins in a different area and radiates to the groin and hip.
The pain may result from damage to the bones, joints, or muscles, or from a health condition affecting an organ such as the intestines or ovaries.
Getting an accurate, early diagnosis is the best way to help improve the outcome.