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Hip Sprain: Care Instructions

Bones of the pelvis and hip joints


A hip sprain occurs when you stretch or tear ligaments around your hip. Ligaments are tough tissues that connect one bone to another. You can injure your hip in a fall, when you run, or during sports that involve twisting or sudden direction changes, such as basketball or soccer.

Most minor hip sprains get better with treatment at home.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor gave you crutches or a walker, use them as directed.
  • Rest and protect your hip. Try to stop or reduce any action that causes pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your hip for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • For the first day or two after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, or hot packs.
  • After 2 to 3 days, put a heating pad (set on low) or warm moist cloth on your hip before you do light stretches.
  • Do exercises to make your hip stronger, as directed by your doctor or physiotherapist.
  • Return to your usual level of activity as your hip gets better.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain is worse.
  • You cannot walk or stand without help.
  • You have signs of infection, such as a fever or increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth in your hip.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your leg, foot, or toes.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your pain does not get better in 2 or 3 days.
  • You still have pain after 2 weeks.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.