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Hip Pain When Climbing Stairs? Here’s What It Could Be

You miss those days when stairs were no problem and you ran up and down them without thinking twice. Now, you do everything you can to avoid steps because you know you’re going to encounter hip pain.

If you want to get back to a world where steps aren’t giant hurdles, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Western Orthopaedics, we’re fortunate to have an expert on our team who focuses solely on hips — Dr. Brian White

Even better, Dr. White focuses on hip preservation to help patients avoid hip replacement whenever possible. Each year in the United States, there are nearly 550,000 hip replacements, and while these procedures do have their place, our goal is to get in there early to resolve your hip problems before they get to this point.

So, if you’re starting to have trouble climbing stairs, here’s what might be causing the issue.

Hip bursitis

Of all the roads to hip pain, bursitis is the most common. Your body contains about 160 bursae, which are fluid-filed sacs that provide cushioning and spacing between your bones and soft tissues.

In your hips, you have two major bursae, and the one we want to zero in on first is your trochanter bursa, which covers the bony point of your hip called the greater trochanter.

Should this bursa sac become inflamed, it can lead to considerable pain on the outside of your hip that tends to flare when you climb stairs.

While it’s not as common, you can also develop inflammation in the other bursa —  the iliopsoas bursa — which is located on the inside of your hip in your groin area. If you develop bursitis there, it can lead to groin pain when you climb stairs.

Hip impingement

Another issue that can lead to difficulty with steps is hip impingement, or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). With this condition, there’s extra bone growth in the hip-and-socket joint that can lead to pain, inflammation, and damage in your hip, such as a labrum tear.

With FAI, you often feel pain in your groin area, but this pain can extend around to the outside of your hip. And, as with most hip issues, the discomfort can flare when climbing or descending stairs.

Hip flexor pain

Your hip flexors are muscles that work together to allow movement in your hips and legs. If you stress or strain these muscles, you can have hip pain that flares when you use the stairs.

Another issue is tightness in your hip flexors, which can also make climbing stairs more challenging.

Back to pain-free movement

We’ve reviewed some of the common culprits behind hip pain when using the stairs, but there are more. The fact is, when you’re navigating stairs is where you might first notice that you have a hip problem, so we want you to heed this early warning and come see us for an evaluation.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of your hip pain, contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to set up a consultation with Dr. White.

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