Various conditions, such as osteoarthritis and flat feet, can lead to simultaneous hip and knee pain. Simultaneous hip and knee pain can interfere with daily life. Pain in these joints may be constant or only occur with certain activities, such as walking.
This article explores some possible causes of hip and knee pain, along with their symptoms and treatments.
Health professionals use the term “arthritis” to describe conditions that cause inflammation and swelling in a person’s joints. Osteoarthritis and gout are two such conditions. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage covering a joint begins to wear down. Cartilage is a smooth tissue located at the end of the bones that form the joints. It allows the bones of the joint to move smoothly relative to each other.
Osteoarthritis mainly affects the hips, hands and knees.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis usually develop over time rather than appearing suddenly.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis can be as follows
joint pain during or after activity or at the end of the day
joint stiffness usually occurring in the morning or after sleeping or resting
a limitation in range of motion that may disappear with movement
clicking or popping sounds when bending joints
swelling around the joints
muscle weakness around the joints
joint deformity or instability
Osteoarthritis of the hip can lead to pain in the groin area, in the buttocks, or on the inside of the knee or thigh. A person with knee osteoarthritis may feel a grinding or scraping sensation when moving their knee.
Health professionals cannot cure osteoarthritis. However, they may recommend treatments such as the following to help relieve symptoms:
painkillers and anti-inflammatories, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics
weight loss, in some cases
surgery to replace or fuse damaged joints
Sciatica is pain that results from a problem with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to below the knee. Injury or compression of the sciatic nerve can cause pain anywhere along the nerve:
the back of the thigh
the leg, possibly including the knee
Symptoms of sciatica can be as follows
a leg cramp that can last for weeks
sharp or “electrical” pain
pain along the sciatic nerve when moving, coughing, or sneezing
leg weakness or numbness
a burning or tingling sensation down the leg.
In general, sciatica goes away with time and rest. Treatment for symptoms may include:
heat or cold treatments
injections into the spine of a cortisone-like drug
Hip and knee injuries can cause pain and tenderness. A person can injure their hip and knee in several ways, including:
by having an accident, for example a car accident
straining the joints excessively during certain activities
Physicians refer to injuries that occur during activity as “sports injuries”. They can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries are those that occur suddenly, such as a fall. A chronic injury develops over time due to overuse of the body part.
Symptoms of a hip or knee injury can vary depending on the cause. Possible symptoms of an acute injury include:
sudden, severe pain
significant swelling or bruising
inability to put weight on the leg
inability to move the joint as usual
extreme leg weakness
visible displacement of a bone or joint
Symptoms of a chronic injury can be pain during activity or swelling and pain during rest.
Treatment for hip and knee injuries depends on their severity. Minor injuries can be treated at home:
applying ice packs
by applying pressure to the injured area
elevate the leg
taking over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories.
A medical professional can treat more serious injuries by immobilizing the leg with a cast or splint. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
It is advisable to consult a doctor if one is unsure of the severity of the injury. In the event of a serious hip or knee injury, call 911.
Having flat feet, or pes planus, means that the arch of the foot is very low. It is a relatively common condition. Flat feet can put pressure on the hips and knees.
Flat feet usually cause no symptoms. When symptoms or complications occur, they may be as follows
pain in the feet, lower leg, knee, hip or back
change in gait
rigid feet, which means that a person’s feet have no arch when sitting or standing.
Children generally do not need treatment for flat feet. However, a healthcare professional can treat a child’s flat feet with foot orthotics or surgery.
To treat flat feet in adults, healthcare professionals may recommend:
motion control shoes
weight loss, in some cases
When to consult a doctor
A person should see a doctor if their hip or knee pain does not go away or if it interferes with their daily life. A healthcare professional can diagnose the cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
a person should see a doctor if they have joint pain for three or more days. Also, it is advisable to consult a doctor if one suffers from several episodes of joint pain per month. In the event of a serious hip or knee injury, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Various conditions, such as osteoarthritis and flat feet, can cause hip and knee pain. A medical professional will recommend different treatments depending on the cause of the pain. A person should see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of their hip and knee pain.