When to get immediate medical help
- gets sudden pain in their hip, thigh or knee (hip problems can sometimes be felt in the thigh or knee)
- is limping or can't put any weight on one leg
They probably just have irritable hip (inflammation of the hip joint). This isn't serious and gets better by itself.
But they should be checked to rule out anything like a broken bone or infected joint (septic arthritis).
To find out what's causing your child's pain, a doctor or nurse may:
- look at and feel your child's hip, leg or knee
- try gently moving the leg in different directions
- ask about any recent injuries or illnesses
- arrange an X-ray
Sometimes a blood test or other scans may also be done to confirm it's nothing serious.
Treatment for irritable hip
Irritable hip normally gets better in 1 or 2 weeks and doesn't cause lasting problems.
You can usually look after your child at home. Sometimes they may need to stay in hospital for a few days if they're in a lot of pain.
While looking after your child at home:
- make sure they rest their leg until they're feeling better – keep them off nursery or school until they're recovered
- give them ibuprofen or paracetamol for their pain
- go to any follow-up appointments recommended by your doctor or nurse
- let them do any activities that could put a lot of strain on their hip for at least 2 weeks – they can gradually return to their normal activities once they're feeling better (swimming is a good way to get the joint moving again)
Take your child back to the GP or hospital if:
- their pain is getting worse
- they get a high temperature or feel hot and shivery
- their pain hasn't started to improve after a week
- they're still in pain after 2 weeks
- their pain went away but has come back
This might mean they have a more serious problem.