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Anna asked...

My left hip has started hurting.

My left hip started hurting in Thursday afternoon and gotten progressively worse. I'm now struggling to sit and stand. Walking is an issue. I'm in substantial pain. What would you recommend? Thanks.

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The answer

This very much depends on your age, whether you injured your hip or whether you’ve had a previous diagnosis of osteoarthritis etc. Not knowing the whole picture means I can’t tell you with accuracy what’s going on. The most common cause of hip pain across the population is osteoarthritis, which is the most common cause of joint pain generally. The most common joints affected by osteoarthritis are the hips, the knees, the spine and the hands. Osteoarthritis gets more common with age and increasing weight, and is also more likely if it runs in your family or if you’ve had previous injury to a joint. The typical symptoms include pain, limitation of movement and stiffness (often worse when you get up in the morning). Contrary to popular belief, symptoms of osteoarthritis can wax and wane over time and don’t keep getting worse. Other causes include trochanteric bursitis, which classically causes pain over the outside of your upper thigh, and ‘referred’ pain coming from your lower spine but felt in your hip. If you haven’t had any trauma and are well in yourself, it’s reasonable to take painkillers or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (unless you have medical reasons for avoiding them) and rest for a few days before you see your doctor. However, if your symptoms are getting worse or you have any associated symptoms including weakness/numbness or tingling in your leg, or feel generally unwell or feverish, you must see your doctor.

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