Mild hip and leg pain can make its presence known with every step. Severe hip and leg pain can be debilitating.

Five of the most common causes of hip and leg pain are:

  1. tendinitis
  2. arthritis
  3. a dislocation
  4. bursitis
  5. sciatica

Your hip is your largest ball-and-socket joint. When the tendons that attach the muscles to your thigh bone become inflamed or irritated from overuse or injury, they can cause aches and swelling in the affected area.

Tendinitis in your hips or legs could cause discomfort in both, even during times of relaxation.

If you’re active through sports or an occupation that requires repetitive movements, you may be at an increased risk of tendinitis. It’s also more common with age as tendons experience wear and tear over time.


Tendinitis is often treated through pain management and rest. Your doctor may recommend the following R.I.C.E method:

  • rest
  • ice the affected area multiple times a day
  • compress the area
  • elevate your legs above your heart to reduce swelling

Arthritis refers to an inflammation of your joints. When the cartilage tissue that normally absorbs the shock on joints during physical activity begins to deteriorate, you may be experiencing a type of arthritis.

Arthritis is most common in people over 65 years old.

If you feel stiffness, swelling, or general discomfort around your hips that radiates to your legs, it may be a symptom of a type of arthritis. The most common arthritis in the hip is osteoarthritis.


There’s no cure for arthritis. Instead, treatment focuses on lifestyle changes and pain management to ease symptoms.

Dislocations commonly result from a blow to the joint that causes the ends of the bones to shift from their usual position.

One of the more common ways a hip dislocates is in a motor vehicle accident when the knee strikes the dashboard in front, causing the ball of the hip to be pushed backward out of its socket.

While dislocations are often experienced in the shoulders, fingers, or knees, your hip can also be dislocated, causing intense pain and swelling that inhibits movement.


Your doctor will likely try to move the bones back into the proper position. This sometimes requires surgery.

After a period of rest, you can begin rehabilitating the injury to restore strength and mobility.

Hip bursitis is referred to as trochanteric bursitis and occurs when the fluid-filled sacs on the outside of your hips become inflamed.

Causes of hip bursitis include:

This is very common in females, but uncommon in males.

Symptoms may worsen when you’re lying on the affected area for extended periods of time. Hip bursitis may cause pain when you’re going about everyday activities that require pressure on your hips or legs, such as walking upstairs.


Your doctor might tell you to avoid activities that make the symptoms worse and recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).

They might also recommend crutches or a cane and, if necessary, a corticosteroid injection into the bursa. Surgery is rarely needed.

Sciatica often occurs as a result of a herniated disk or bone spur that then causes pain in your lower back and down your legs.

The condition is associated with a pinched nerve in your back. The pain can radiate, causing hip and leg pain.

Mild sciatica usually fades with time, but you should seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • feel severe pain after an injury or accident
  • experience numbness or weakness in your legs
  • cannot control your bowels or bladder

Loss of bowel or bladder control may be a sign of cauda equina syndrome.


Your doctor will typically treat your sciatica with the goal of increasing mobility and decreasing pain.

If NSAIDS alone aren’t enough, they might prescribe a muscle relaxant such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). It’s likely that your doctor will also suggest physical therapy.

If conservative treatment is not effective, surgery may be considered, such as microdiscectomy or laminectomy.

Hip and leg pain are often the result of injury, overuse, or wear and tear over time. Many treatment options focus on resting the affected area and managing pain, but others may require additional medical attention.

If your hip and leg pain persist or worsen overtime — or you experience symptoms such as immobility of your leg or hip, or signs of an infection — seek medical attention immediately.