Hip and knee
Most cases of hip pain in adults are caused by osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK.
This page aims to give you a better idea of whether osteoarthritis or something more unusual is causing your hip pain, and what you can do about it.
However, don’t try to diagnose the cause of your hip pain yourself – this should always be a matter for your doctor or a WUTH MSK specialist physiotherapist.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness. Some people also experience swelling, tenderness and a grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints.
The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.
For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other people can experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities.
Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands.
You should see your GP or self-refer to physiotherapy if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.
Sudden pain in one of the knees is usually the result of overusing the knee or injuring it. In many cases, you don’t need to see your GP.
The knee joint is particularly vulnerable to damage and pain because it takes the full weight of your body and any extra force when you run or jump.
You’re more likely to experience knee pain as you get older, and people who are overweight or do lots of sports have a higher risk of damaging their knees. Some sports that involve a lot of turning, such as football, netball and skiing, carry a particularly high risk of knee injuries.
When to see your GP
You should see your GP if:
- you cannot put weight on your knee at all
- you have severe pain even when you’re not putting weight on it, such as at night
- your knee locks or painfully clicks (painless clicking is OK)
- your knee keeps giving way
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