I Have Aching Hips at Nighttime

The stereotype that hip pain is an ailment of the elderly is incorrect. According to MayoClinic.com, hip pain and discomfort is a widespread complaint that results from various causes 15. Where your pain is located and its occurrence at night gives clues to the source of the problem. Often, you can treat your hip pain without seeing a doctor.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


If you are physically active or have begun a new workout routine, you may irritate the tendons which surround the hip bone. As you age, your tendons lose some of their flexibility, and some tendons may not move smoothly no matter your age. All of these situations can result in hip pain experienced at night or when resting. Additional symptoms include swelling in the hip and leg, redness near the hip, and trouble bending. Treatment may be as simple as rest with heat and ice applications. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication or, in extreme cases, surgery.


The fluid-filled sac between your hip bone and soft tissue is a bursa. It acts as a cushion, but when it is inflamed, pain in the hip results. The pain usually begins as a sharp, localized sensation and evolves into a dull ache which spreads to surrounding areas. While this pain may be felt any time, it is normally more intense at night when you are lying on the problem side, or when you stand from a prolonged sitting position. Bone spurs, overactivity and unequal leg lengths are a few of the causes of bursitis. A change in activity or medication may be enough to treat the inflammation. Surgery to remove the bursa is recommended in rare cases.


A problem with the sciatic nerve, which travels from your spine through the back of both legs, can cause nighttime hip pain. However, sciatica usually presents with pain and numbness throughout the day and in other areas of the leg. Sciatica is most often caused by an issue with the spine, but can also result from a pelvic injury. For relief when sleeping, bring your knees up toward your chest with a pillow between them. Over-the-counter pain medications and hot or cold treatments may also help. Physical therapy or injections to reduce inflammation are other options your doctor may suggest.


There are several types of arthritis that may result in hip pain, the most common of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs over time or as a result of an injury or infection to a joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your immune system attacking the healthy tissue in your joints. Both present with other symptoms, including swelling, stiffness and redness. The pain normally occurs throughout the day. Conservative treatment for arthritis ranges from medication to physical therapy. Surgery is considered if conservative methods are ineffective.