Differential diagnosis of pain around the hip joint

Arthroscopy. 2008 Dec;24(12):1407-21. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2008.06.019. Epub 2008 Aug 28.


The differential diagnosis of hip pain is broad and includes intra-articular pathology, extra-articular pathology, and mimickers, including the joints of the pelvic ring. With the current advancements in hip arthroscopy, more patients are being evaluated for hip pain. In recent years, our understanding of the functional anatomy around the hip has improved. In addition, because of advancements in magnetic resonance imaging, the diagnosis of soft tissue causes of hip pain has improved. All of these advances have broadened the differential diagnosis of pain around the hip joint and improved the treatment of these problems. In this review, we discuss the causes of intra-articular hip pain that can be addressed arthroscopically: labral tears, loose bodies, femoroacetabular impingement, capsular laxity, tears of the ligamentum teres, and chondral damage. Extra-articular diagnoses that can be managed arthroscopically are also discussed, including: iliopsoas tendonitis, "internal" snapping hip, "external" snapping hip, iliotibial band and greater trochanteric bursitis, and gluteal tendon injury. Finally, we discuss extra-articular causes of hip pain that are often managed nonoperatively or in an open fashion: femoral neck stress fracture, adductor strain, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint pain, athletic pubalgia, "sports hernia," "Gilmore's groin," and osteitis pubis.

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / injuries
  • Arthroscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Femoral Neck Fractures / surgery
  • Fractures, Stress / surgery
  • Hip Injuries / surgery
  • Hip Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology*
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Joint Capsule / injuries
  • Joint Loose Bodies / surgery
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology