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Hip Pain: Care Instructions


Hip pain may be caused by many things, including overuse, a fall, or a twisting movement. Another cause of hip pain is arthritis. Your pain may increase when you stand up, walk, or squat. The pain may come and go or may be constant.

Home treatment can help relieve hip pain, swelling, and stiffness. If your pain is ongoing, you may need more tests and treatment.

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?

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • 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.
  • Rest and protect your hip. Take a break from any activity, including standing or walking, that may cause pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack against 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.
  • Sleep on your healthy side with a pillow between your knees, or sleep on your back with pillows under your knees.
  • If there is no swelling, you can put moist heat, a heating pad, or a warm cloth on your hip. Do gentle stretching exercises to help keep your hip flexible.
  • Learn how to prevent falls. Have your vision and hearing checked regularly. Wear slippers or shoes with a non-skid sole.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You are not able to stand or walk or bear weight.
  • Your buttocks, legs, or feet feel numb or tingly.
  • Your leg or foot is cool or pale or changes colour.
  • You have severe pain.

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

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in the hip area.
    • Red streaks leading from the hip area.
    • Pus draining from the hip area.
    • A fever.
  • 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 are not able to bend, straighten, or move your leg normally.
  • You have trouble urinating or having bowel movements.

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

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter Z720 in the search box to learn more about "Hip Pain: Care Instructions".

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.