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Joint Pain Relief/Hip hurts when lifting my leg sideways?


Hello and thank you for offering your help!

Around one month ago I noticed I had a pain in my hip joint when I was lifting my right leg up to the side. It only appeared when the leg was actually high up, at 90 degrees from the torso (I was doing side leg lifts and I lift my leg high up).

I just ignored it and now one month later or more, I noticed I still have it. It wasn't worse than before, just pretty much the same, but I kept forcing it to localize the pain the other day and now it's much more painful and it hurts with movements that didn't hurt the day before. I'm waiting for it to get back to what it was before forcing it.

The pain seems to be around the hip joint and it sometimes hurts in the back or the front and usually deep inside the hip. Only hurts with movement.

I have a positive FABER sign on the right side.

Also had some occasional pinches/twinges in my right tibia which stopped when I moved my right hip & leg where it hurt. I was thinking a pinch in the sciatic nerve?

The hip doesn't hurt when walking or cycling, only when lifting leg to the side, rotating leg while lifted to the side or rotating hip back towards the right side.

About me - I'm 28 yo female, mostly sedentary, have mild S-shaped scoliosis.

What can this most likely be? I'm a hypochondriac and I'm  thinking horrible things like tumous and such, but my friend who is a medical student told me this is a mechanical pain related to the joint and definitely not a tumor.

Could you please let me know what this pain could be? Does it sound like a benign thing or more like some bone tumor? I am very short on cash and can't afford going to a doctor right now. Besides I'm trying to conceive so I couldn't have an X-ray done.

Thank you for any help!

Hi Cristina,

So sorry to hear you are having pain. After reading your description, here are my thoughts:

1. Since you are able to produce / reproduce the pain with a specific movement - it's likely a mechanical problem (versus a tumor). The motion causing pain (abduction - movement of the leg to the side) is one of the movements in the FABER test - so this is consistent with some form of mechanical problem.

2. The sciatic nerve isn't likely to be involved.

3. I'm a bit confused when you mention the tibia. Do you mean that the pain is in your lower leg (i.e. below the knee)?

4. Though I can't say for sure - this doesn't sound like any severe/serious problem. This is not to make light of your pain. Only to suggest that it's not likely an urgent / severe medical condition causing it. Based on what you've described it sounds like you have some irritated or slightly damaged tissue in your hip joint (i.e. capsule or labrum or cartilage).

I'd suggest that you simply avoid any motions or activities that cause the pain (stop doing the side leg raises) and definitely stop "testing" it. Avoid any impact activities such as jogging/running/jumping as well. Give the tissue time to heal. Use over the counter items (i.e. NSAIDs or natural anti-inflammatory supplements and pain relievers) as you are able to (that aren't in any way contra-indicated by any other conditions). If the problem is mild and mechanical you should notice improvement from the natural healing process. Note that depending on the severity of the problem it could take months to fully heal (and that's normal - even for a 28 year old).

If the pain / problem persists or worsens despite your avoiding things that provoke it and you've tried over the counter items (i.e. ibuprofen) - then go see a medical specialist and have them take a closer look.

I wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery!


Joint Pain Relief

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David Berman, MS, PT, COMT, CSCS


David can answer questions about joint pain from injuries and degenerative conditions (like osteoarthritis), pre- and post-surgical joint issues, and other such conditions.


David is a licensed and practicing Physical Therapist (since 1997) with expertise as an Orthopedic Manual Therapist. He is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of muscle and joint pain.

Master of Science in Physical Therapy (1996) Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (1999) Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (2004) Licensed Physical Therapist in the state of Colorado (2000 - present)

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