Causes of Hip Pain That Radiates Down the Leg


Our hips and legs can get tired from the way we live, and the more overweight you are, the more likely it is that your joints will hurt. Most of the time, the best way to deal with joint pain is to lose weight, but hip and leg pain isn’t always caused by joint issues.

Pain in the hip can come from anywhere in the area, and it travels down the nerves into the lower leg. This can hurt your thigh, your knee, and the area around your feet.

Common Causes for Hip Pain

What could be the diagnosis? Here are some of the most common things that can cause pain that goes from your hip to your leg:

Hip Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the common wear-and-tear of the hip joint. This condition commonly causes a sensation of deep aching in the groin and hip area but can spread through areas below your knee. This kind of pain is often worse after a night’s sleep, or a prolonged period of resting, sitting, or physical movement. Osteoarthritis can cause a grinding sound and a feeling like the joint is locking or sticking.

Labral Tear in the Hip

The labrum is a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines the ball-and-socket joint and helps keep the shape of your hip. When this ring of cartilage around the hip socket tears or gets damaged, different symptoms are almost certain to happen. Pain in the groin is common, but it can also move across the hip and down each buttock. The discomfort that stems from a labral tear is felt at its worst after exercise or any other vigorous activities. Over time and without treatment, this pain will become more prevalent throughout less strenuous movements, such as resting or sleeping.

Hip Impingement

Hip impingement causes pain and a dull ache around the hip and groin, as well as sharp pain after any movement, like putting on shoes, getting out of a chair, or turning while getting dressed. An impingement can happen when the hip bone and its joints are too close together and are often the result of labral tears or hip osteoarthritis. Pain can then travel from your hip to the front of your thigh and down to your knee. Once the condition gets to a certain point, driving and sitting can make it worse if you don’t get the right treatment.


The bursa is a small sac that holds fluid and sits in front of your hip. If this sac gets swollen, it can cause a great amount of pain in the groin and when you move your knee. One of these sacs is on the side of the hip joint and the others are in the front and back of the hip. As you might expect, this pain gets worse when you put any kind of pressure on your hip, and that pain will travel down the side of your thigh.

External Snapping Hip

Some causes of pain in the hip or leg can start on the side of the hip and move down the thigh. External snapping hip is one of these causes. This happens when a tendon or piece of muscle slides across a bone that sticks out from the side of your thigh bone. This makes that scary sound and hurts because it puts direct pressure on the hip and sends painful feelings down the sides of your legs.


This is usually the most common reason why pain in your hip goes down your leg. Sciatica is a pain in the sciatic nerve, which runs down each leg from your hip and it goes down the back of your hip and the front, back, and sides of your leg. Pain from sciatica can be accompanied by tingling, numbness, or even a weakening of the muscles. Sciatica is often caused by a deeper medical problem, like a herniated lumbar disk and the pain can be mild or severe, come and go, or be there all the time.

What can Help Hip Pain that Radiates Down the Leg?

Many things can cause this type of pain. You can try some hip stretches as well as rest, ice, and warm packs. If your pain seems to remain the same or get worse, it is important to see a doctor so you can receive proper treatment. Stretching is very important in this, and there are some stretches that you can do at home, to help relieve some pain symptoms, like the hip stretch or hamstring stretch. 

Contact us at Carolina Orthopedic & Neurological Associates for more information, and to speak to our specialists.

Make an Appointment
with A CONA Specialist!

If you are experiencing hip pain, we encourage you to make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (CONA) Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Hip Specialist as soon as possible. We have offices located in Spartanburg, Duncan and Greenville, SC.

Remember, the road to recovery starts when you walk through our doors. 

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