Hip joint pain referral patterns: a descriptive study

Pain Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;9(1):22-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2006.00153.x.


Objective: To determine hip joint pain referral patterns.

Design: Retrospective analysis. Setting. Multicenter. Patients. Fifty-one consecutive patients meeting clinical criteria of a symptomatic hip joint. Interventions. Fluoroscopically guided intra-articular hip joint injection. Outcome Measures. Anatomic pain map before hip injection and visual analog scale both before and after hip injection.

Results: The hip joint was shown to cause pain in traditionally accepted referral areas to the groin and thigh in 55% and 57% of patients, respectfully. However, pain referral was also seen in the buttock and lower extremity distal to the knee in 71% and 22%, respectively. Foot and knee pain were seen in only 6% and 2% of patients, respectively, while lower lumbar spine referral did not occur. Fourteen pain referral patterns were observed.

Conclusions: Buttock pain is the most common pain referral area from a symptomatic hip joint. Traditionally accepted groin and thigh referral areas were less common. Hip joint pain can occasionally refer distally to the foot. Lower lumbar spine referral did not occur.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Arthralgia / drug therapy
  • Arthralgia / physiopathology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Hip Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Referred / drug therapy
  • Pain, Referred / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anesthetics, Local