What Causes Hip Pain When You Sit?

Hip pain from walking, sitting or even standing for long periods can lead to chronic hip pain that is nearly disabling. It can interrupt your daily routine and lower your quality of life. Chronic hip pain that lasts for longer than a few weeks should be evaluated and treated to make sure there isn't something more going on. This article gives you some of the causes of hip pain when you sit with other symptoms you may feel.

8 Possible Reasons Why You Get Hip Pain from Sitting

There are a number of reasons why you may end up with hip pain. The cause could be temporary or possibly a long-term degenerative condition. It is important to understand these causes because if hip pain does not resolve on its own, you need to get checked by your doctor. Some of the most common causes are:

1. Bursitis of the Hip

Bursitis of the hip is one of the most common reasons people have hip pain. The bursa is the sac that cushions the hip joint and can become inflamed. It can happen to anyone for a number of reasons including hip injury, infection, autoimmune flare-ups, and stress on the joint. The pain is usually at its worst when lying on the affected side or sitting, because the "large bursa" is located on the outer part of the hip.


  • Pain on the outside of the hip
  • Radiating pain into the thigh area
  • Lower back pain
  • Groin pain
  • Pain with sitting, lying, standing, or bending at the hip area
  • Area feels hot, red, and swollen
  • Tender to touch

2. FAI (Femoroacetabular Impingement)

Your hip has a thick piece of cartilage to cushion the actual "ball and socket" part of the joint. This cushion is called, the labrum. The labrum can be torn due to a sudden hip injury. Rarely, a labrum tear can be caused by a hip deformity.

When hip pain from sitting begins with this condition, it usually means the labrum has lost its ability to protect the bones in the joint from rubbing together. One of the prominent causes is sitting for long periods of time in low profile seats such as low cars, airplane seats, beach chairs, and even on the ground.


  • Pain is described as sharp and stabbing
  • Popping in the joint
  • Hip "locks up"
  • Clicking feeling
  • Dull pain when doing other tasks
  • Grinding feeling in the socket

3. Poor Posture

If you sit for long periods of time, improper body mechanics can cause hip pain. It could be as simple as needing a different chair or changing your position often. Your hips were not designed for long periods of overextension, so sitting in positions like W-sitting, cross legged, one knee over the other, or knees pressed tightly together can pull on the outer hip muscles and cause pain.


  • Achy hips at night when you sleep
  • Pain from sitting
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Pain in the front of hips and groin

4. Muscle Strain

A strain to a hip muscle can cause hip pain from sitting. When you do an activity that puts force against the hip, you can strain the muscles surround the joint. This can be caused by lifting too much weight, overworking the muscles, or doing things over and over. If you have chronic hip pain due to muscle strains, it is most likely due to something you do over and over. If the pain appeared suddenly, you probably strained the muscle from a recent injury.


  • Decreased range-of-motion to the hip
  • Pain with sitting or getting in and out of a chair
  • Pain when walking or standing
  • Inflammation and swelling to the area
  • Visible bruising (with acute strain)
  • Popping and/or clicking
  • Stiffness to the joint
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle spasms

5. Sciatica

Sciatica is actually sciatic nerve pain that occurs in the lower back area. This can cause a "referred pain" that radiates over to the hip and down the leg. The pain is most common when sitting down in a chair and rising up from a sitting position. This condition can be caused by growth spurts in children, back injury, injections into the buttocks, repetitive lifting, and sitting for long periods of time (common in truck drivers).


  • Pain that feels like a "stitch"
  • Sharp pain with movement
  • Pain when getting up from a chair after sitting
  • Radiating pain to hips, legs, knees, and even the calf
  • Limited range of motion in the hip area

6. Arthritis

Any type of arthritis can cause pain to flare after long periods of not moving around. Arthritis pain is often worse in the morning after sleep. The same goes for hip pain from sitting for long periods in arthritis sufferers. This is because the joints tend to stiffen up when not in use. Arthritis of the hip is caused by damage to the cartilage that protects the hip joint.


  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Hip pain after sitting or lying down for long periods
  • Trouble walking or walking with a limp
  • Pain with weight bearing on hip
  • Pain after exercise

7. Legg-Calves-Perth Disease

This disease is caused from not enough blood flow to the ball joint in the hip. The hip bone begins to die-off and causes pain when sitting and many other activities. It is most common in younger boys and is a leading cause of hip fractures in younger people. Any complaint of hip pain in a younger person should be investigated early on to prevent complications like fractures.


Symptoms are often found only on one-side and usually manifest with limping as the first symptom. Then symptoms progress to:

  • Trouble walking
  • Frequent falls
  • Pain in the groin
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • One leg shorter than the other
  • Less range of motion on affected side
  • Hip pain from sitting, walking, running, and bending

8. Tenosynovitis

Your tendons that attach to the hip have a protective layer called, the synovium. There is a lubricant fluid inside that can become inflamed. If you injure the tendons near your hip, tenosynovitis can develop and cause pain when sitting or bending at the hip.


  • Stiff hip joint
  • Swelling
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Pain in the joint when sitting or bending
  • Tenderness in the joint
  • Red and inflamed skin outside the hip joint

If you do experience fever with hip pain, you need to contact your doctor right away for a medical evaluation. A fever may signal a bacterial infection in the synovial fluid.

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