What Causes Pain on the Left Side Above the Hip?

Medically Reviewed on 3/3/2022

What is the left side pain above the hip?

There are a variety of reasons that you might be experiencing left side pain above your hip. The problem could be the result of an injury that might heal on its own. It could also be an indicator of an undiagnosed illness.
There are a variety of reasons that you might be experiencing left side pain above your hip. The problem could be the result of an injury that might heal on its own. It could also be an indicator of an undiagnosed illness.

People typically experience pains around their body, including the hip area. Persistent left side pain above the hip could be a symptom of an underlying health issue that requires medical treatment. The problem could be the result of an injury that might heal on its own. It could also be an indicator of an undiagnosed illness. 

There are a variety of reasons that you might be experiencing left side pain above your hip. It is a good idea to seek further medical treatment if the problem does not improve, or if it comes and goes over a long period. You could potentially endanger your long-term health by putting off visiting a doctor. 

Signs and symptoms of left side pain above the hip

The pain you feel on the left side above your hip may be the first sign that there is something wrong. Depending on the cause of the pain, you may find yourself experiencing other recurrent symptoms alongside the discomfort above the left side of your hip, including:

Causes of left side pain above the hip

Many medical reasons can contribute to pain on the left side above your hip. Below are some common health disorders that can cause you to experience this kind of discomfort. 


Arthritis is a disorder that causes pain and swelling in various joints. Certain types of arthritis can result in a feeling of pain above your left hip. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic form of arthritis that can affect the hip joints and other joints in the body. RA is the result of your immune system malfunctioning and attacking healthy joint tissue. The disease can also affect other parts of your body, including the heart, lungs, and nerves. 

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation in your spine, including the lower part near your hips. You could find yourself feeling pain above your left hip, together with feelings of stiffness. 


Diverticulosis is a condition that can develop in individuals, especially as they age. They end up with bulging pouches in their colon that may become swollen and infected. When that happens, the condition is called diverticulitis. Abdominal pain, possibly on the left side above the hip, can be one of the symptoms you experience caused by diverticulitis

Muscle strain

A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when you stretch a muscle beyond its current capacity, causing tears. You can strain a muscle in your hip or lower back by exercising or moving in the wrong way. Other side effects of a muscle strain include swelling, bruising of the skin, and difficulty moving that part of your body. 


Osteomyelitis is a medical condition where there is swelling or inflammation in your bone tissue. Some form of infection usually causes it. For example, you can contract osteomyelitis through a bacterial infection that gets into your bloodstream. This can spread to the vertebrae in your spine, causing pain on your left side above the hip.

Pinched nerve

The discs in your back can grow shorter as you age, pushing your vertebrae closer together and pinching the nerves around and above your hip. Other symptoms of pinched nerves can include leg weakness, tingling sensations, and pain that travels from your back to your foot.  

Kidney stones

Kidney stones form from the minerals and salts that get dissolved in your urine. They can gradually get larger and painfully travel through your urinary tract, eventually exiting your body when you urinate. Other symptoms of kidney stones that could be causing you to feel pain on the left side above your hip include:

  • A pressing need to urinate
  • Feeling a burning sensation when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Pain Management: Surprising Causes of Pain See Slideshow

Diagnosis for left side pain above the hip

Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your medical history and the length of time that you’ve been having symptoms. After performing a physical exam, the doctor may order additional tests depending on what they discover. 

  • Blood and urine tests to look for signs of disease
  • An endoscopy to look for signs of digestive issues
  • X-rays and other imaging to see if there are any abnormalities in your bones or tissues
If you find yourself in extreme pain, you may want to admit yourself to a hospital.

Treatments for left side pain above the hip

The prescribed treatment from your doctor will be based on the cause of the pain above your hip on the left. The recommendations could include:

  • Medication to manage the pain or treat inflammation
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Surgery for the root cause of the pain
  • Various lifestyle changes

What does tendonitis feel like in the hip?

Tendonitis can affect any of the tendons in your body. One of the most common areas is the hips. Hip flexor tendonitis, tendonitis of the hip, and a few other names all describe this injury that can typically be treated at home.

Your body’s tendons are thick, rope-like structures made of small fibers that attach your muscles to bones. Tendonitis often affects areas that are near joints. The muscle that flexes your hip is called the iliopsoas muscle. A tendon connects it to your upper thigh. If you overuse your iliopsoas muscle, the tendon can get inflamed and result in hip tendonitis.

Anyone can get hip tendonitis, but it’s most common in athletes. If you like to run, bike, swim, play intense sports, or attend exercise classes regularly you should learn the signs and symptoms of hip tendonitis.

Symptoms of hip tendonitis

Most of the time hip tendonitis comes on gradually. It’s different from pulling a muscle or spraining a ligament because there’s no sudden, intense pain. With hip tendonitis, you’ll notice over time that there’s a dull ache in your hip that slowly gets worse. Like most injuries, if you leave it untreated it can cause serious issues, including difficulty moving your hip.

If you think you have hip tendonitis, consult your healthcare provider. They’ll do a physical exam to see if you have pain and tenderness at a certain spot on your hip. They might perform other tests like x-rays, MRIs, or bone scans to make sure that your hip issues aren’t from another condition or injury.

Snapping hip

Snapping hip is a term often associated with hip tendonitis. When the inflamed iliopsoas tendon is used, it rubs against the bone of the hip socket and can catch. This causes a clicking that can be felt, heard, or both. This only happens with certain movements, like raising and lowering the whole leg or twisting the hip.

You’ll know if you have snapping hip because of the pain and clicking in your groin or the front area of your hip. Your symptoms will get worse when you bend the hip, especially if there’s resistance. Because the iliopsoas tendon is close to the surface of your skin, you might have tenderness in the hip or groin area.

Your healthcare provider can diagnose snapping hip by examining the area. The condition can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatories, or cortisone injections. If it’s severe, you might need surgery. If you have snapping hip without any pain, your healthcare provider likely won’t offer treatment.

Treating hip tendonitis

The best way to treat hip tendonitis is to focus on stopping inflammation and reducing pain. If you’re physically active you should pause your exercise routine and rest. If your hip tendonitis is mild, you can use over-the-counter pain medication and follow the RICE method:

  • Rest: Wait two or three days before using your hip tendon.
  • Ice: Apply ice wrapped in a towel to the affected area for 20 minutes every few hours.
  • Compression: Wrap the area snugly in a bandage or soft brace, and remove the compression before bedtime. 
  • Elevation: If possible, elevate your hip by lying on a pillow.

If your symptoms don’t improve over time, you should consult your healthcare provider. Ask about physical therapy as a treatment; this can improve flexibility and strengthen your hip area. Beyond physical therapy and pain management, there are surgical options for treating hip tendonitis. Most people with this condition don’t need surgery, but if you try other options and are still in constant pain you might consider an operation.

Injuries similar to hip tendonitis

There are a collection of injuries similar to hip tendonitis that can cause or contribute to hip pain. These include:

  • Gluteus Medium Syndrome: The gluteus medius muscle helps you stabilize as you walk, run, and jump. You’ll have pain on the outer part of your hip, and you might limp, feel pain, or be weak when raising your leg away from your body.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle is a deep hip rotator that can become tight and irritated. You’ll feel intense pain in the back of your hip and shooting down the back of your leg. If you try hip rotation stretches, you’ll experience weakness and tightness.

Whether you have hip tendonitis or a related injury, talk to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and to go over treatment options.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/3/2022
Beaumont Health: "Hip Tendonitis.""

Cedars Sinai: “Pinched Nerve."

John Hopkins Medicine: “Osteomyelitis."

MedlinePlus: “Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis."

MedlinePlus: “Strains."

National Health Service: "Tendonitis."

NIH: “Ankylosing Spondylitis."

NIH: “Rheumatoid Arthritis."

Temple Health: "Hip Muscle and Tendon Overuse Injuries."

UC San Diego Health: "Iliopsoas Tendonitis and Snapping Hip."

Urology Care Foundation: “Kidney Stones.