What you need to know about hip injuries in sports

Written by: Mr Akash Patel
Published: | Updated: 04/05/2023
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Hip injuries are a common issue in athletes, especially among those who play high-impact sports. They occur due to the repetitive and quick turning motions (from changing directions) placing excess stress on the hip joint, and potentially lead to wear. Abnormal movements can lead to a hip injury.


Here, Mr Akash Patel, highly skilled consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, provides an in-depth insight into hip injuries sustained in sports. He explains the most common hip injuries, how the risk of injury can be reduced, and when medical attention should be sought, amongst other important points.



What are the most common hip injuries sustained in sports?

Hip injuries sustained in sports can be divided into soft tissues injuries and bony injuries. Soft tissue problems are more common. These include muscle: tears or sprains (for example, groin adductors), labral tears, tendon injuries (for example, hamstring), cartilage injuries (which can lead to osteoarthritis), ‘snapping hip’ (iliopsoas impingement, ITB friction, trochanteric bursitis), osteitis pubis, and femoroacetabular impingement.


Bony or joint injuries include: stress fractures (occurring with chronic and repetitive load, such as whilst running) and acute fractures or dislocations (which are less common and follow a fall).


Are some sports more likely than others to cause a hip injury?

Sports which involve high-impact or repetitive chronic loading through joints are more likely to cause hip injuries. These include running, skiing, football, basketball and tennis, to name a few.


Low-impact sports and exercise, such as swimming, cycling, pilates and yoga, are less likely to cause injuries.


Is there any way to reduce the likelihood of sustaining a hip injury?

There are multiple ways to reduce the risk of hip injuries. These principles can be applied before, during and after sports and activities.


  • Muscle strength

Before any sport or activity, it is important to have good baseline muscle strength, balance and range of movement of joints.


  • Strengthening exercises

Regular gradual strengthening exercise helps to build muscle, which supports joints and reduces risk of injury.


  • Warming up

Balancing exercises, warming up before activity, and stretching regularly help to maintain flexibility, which reduces the risk of muscle tears or sprains.


  • Sport gear

Good, comfortable footwear and sport-specific gear is important.


  • Sport-specific training

Controlled sport-specific training helps to reduce hip injury risk, as overtraining can increase injury risk.


  • Lifestyle habits

Good nutrition and hydration, before and after sport, helps to provide enough energy and aids muscle/body recovery, reducing injury risk. Good quality sleep and rest are also very important in injury prevention.


  • Body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is good for the hips, heart and health overall!


When should you see a specialist about a hip injury or hip pain?

It is important to have a confirmed diagnosis to guide treatment for hip pain. People should seek medical advice about a hip injury if they have any of the following:


  • Inability to bear weight
  • Fall or trauma, which causes hip pain
  • Severe hip pain
  • Deformity of the leg following hip injury
  • Inability to move the leg
  • Swelling or bruising around the hip or leg
  • Chronic hip pain that cannot be relieved by home treatments, such as painkillers or rest
  • Night pain
  • Any sign of infection (fever, redness, swelling)


What are the do’s and don’ts of recovering from minor hip injuries or pain at home?

These are the things that can help manage hip pain at home:



  • Rest
  • Take painkillers (simple over the counter medication like paracetamol can help)
  • Ice (if you have swelling after acute injury, this is useful to consider) or heat packs for more chronic issues
  • Gentle mobilisation or movements as comfort allows
  • Wear comfortable socks or shoes with shock absorbers that take the load
  • Maintain a healthy weight, as it is important for the management of chronic hip pain
  • Try gentle stretching hip exercises
  • Use a walking aid, such as a stick or crutches, as guided by a healthcare professional



  • Avoid overloading activities that may exacerbate the pain
  • Do not carry heaving loads
  • Avoid low chairs (this increases the force passing through the joint, resulting in more pain)
  • Avoid repetitive bending that causes pain


If you have recently suffered a hip injury in sports and wish to receive the utmost trauma and orthopaedic expert care, do not hesitate to visit Mr Patel’s Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Akash Patel
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Akash Patel is a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon based in London and is an Associate Professor (University College London). He specialises in knee arthroscopies, hip arthroscopy and meniscus repair as well as cruciate ligament (ACL), hip replacement and knee replacement. He privately practices at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital - Private Patient Unit and BMI The Kings Oak Hospital as well as The Wellington Hospital. His NHS base is the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Patel, who is double-fellowship trained, prides himself in providing the best-possible outcomes for his patients while using evidence-based technologies and enhanced recovery techniques. He also utilises innovative, non-invasive treatments for management of hip and knee disorders including biologics (PRP) and bracing.

Mr Patel is highly qualified and double-fellowship trained. He graduated from University College London (UCL) with an MBBS (2005) and a BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience. Following this, he undertook trauma and orthopaedic training on the Imperial Northwest London rotation. Towards the end of his training, he was awarded various fellowships including international ones in locations including Australia, Switzerland and South Africa. Mr Patel also has an MSc in Evidence-Based Orthopaedics from Warwick University.

Complementing his prestigious and well-earned clinical and academic career, Mr Patel is an Associate Professor at University College London and an honorary senior lecturer for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Furthermore, his keen interest in advanced orthopaedic training for all healthcare professionals is reflected in his roles as an advanced trauma life support instructor for the Royal College of Surgeons of England and director for multiple national orthopaedic masterclass surgical training courses. 

Mr Patel has written various research papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) and underwent prestigious specialist fellowships at Royal Berkshire and Royal Free London Hospitals. 

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