Posterior hip pain in an athletic population: differential diagnosis and treatment options

Sports Health. 2010 May;2(3):237-46. doi: 10.1177/1941738110366000.


Context: Posterior hip pain is a relatively uncommon but increasingly recognized complaint in the orthopaedic community. Patient complaints and presentations are often vague or nonspecific, making diagnosis and subsequent treatment decisions difficult. The purposes of this article are to review the anatomy and pathophysiology related to posterior hip pain in the athletic patient population.

Evidence acquisition: Data were collected through a thorough review of the literature via a MEDLINE search of all relevant articles between 1980 and 2010.

Results: Many patients who complain of posterior hip pain actually have pain referred from another part of the body-notably, the lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint. Treatment options for posterior hip pain are typically nonoperative; however, surgery is warranted in some cases.

Conclusions: Recent advancements in the understanding of hip anatomy, pathophysiology, and treatment options have enabled physicians to better diagnosis athletic hip injuries and select patients for appropriate treatment.

Keywords: gluteal region; piriformis syndrome; posterior hip pain; referred pain; sciatica.