Hip Strain

Minor injuries to the hip, such as a mild strain should settle with time and can be managed at home.


What are the symptoms?

A soft tissue injury to the hip may result in the following:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness and loss of function

The pain can be particularly strong in the first three weeks as this is the inflammatory phase of your body healing itself. Typically, these injuries last 4 to 6 weeks depending on the severity.


Pain Relief

Painkillers like paracetamol will ease the pain, but need to be taken regularly in order to control the pain. Always follow the instructions on the packet.

Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help with swelling, and therefore help you move more freely. Follow the instructions on the packet and discuss using them safely with a pharmacist, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. However, you should not take ibuprofen for 48 hours after an initial injury as it may slow down healing.

You can find further information here on what medications you could take here:



Recovery time and returning to activity

After 72 hours is important to start using your hip as your pain allows. Start to do normal everyday activities. You should also try doing these exercises 3 – 4 times a day. Repeat each one 10 times.

As you start to do these exercises you may feel there is some discomfort, however, this is okay and you should continue. If you have discomfort and pain for more than 2 hours after these exercises, then you should reduce the number and gradually build up again.

It usually takes 6 weeks to heal from simple soft tissue injuries to the hip or knee. However, everyone recovers from injuries at different rates. Some may be back in a few days however for some it can take a number of months.

Returning to work

Gradually build up your strength and function, practice doing similar tasks that you would do at work before returning. Start doing this little and often ensuring there is minimal pain or swelling.

Returning to hobbies/sport

It is advised not to return to these activities until you have full strength and range of movement without pain or swelling. Try to practice the specific movements of your hobby / sport in a controlled manner and build up the time and intensity that you do the movements before returning to your activity fully.

When to seek help

Go to an urgent treatment centre or emergency department if you:

  • have severe pain or feel faint, dizzy or sick from the pain
  • heard a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of the injury,
  • you are unable to weight bear because of the pain

These might be signs of a more severe injury which may need medical attention.

See a GP or physiotherapist if:

  • the pain is severe or stopping you doing normal activities
  • the pain is getting worse and/or keeps coming back
  • the pain has not improved in any capacity after treating it at home for 2 weeks

Additional Resources

Up to date guidelines can be found on the NHS website:

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