What Causes Hip Pain at Night?

April 27, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Jeffrey H. Charen, M.D.
Sleep should be a restorative process for our bodies, but for some people, it triggers pain that can keep them awake.

Lying down can put strain on our hips in a few ways:

  • If you sleep on your side, you are applying direct force to the hip that is down.
  • The hip that is raised can pull down on tendons and muscle.
  • Even sleeping on your back can cause awkward stress on your pelvis.

“Any kind of pain at rest is not normal and is a sign of injury or illness,” says Jeffrey Charen, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at JFK University Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center . “If you are experiencing persistent pain while resting, it’s time to get help from your doctor.”

Signs that you may have a hip problem usually begins well before bedtime. Issues often exist as pain when you rotate the hip, pain in the groin that radiates into the thigh or buttocks, pain while walking, difficulty putting on socks and shoes, and pain when you stand up and start walking. If you experience pain in your hip that gets worse at bedtime, one of a few common conditions could be the culprit.


As we age, our chances of developing arthritis increase. So if you are over age 45—but especially if you are over age 60—arthritis could be the cause of your hip pain. “Arthritis is a broad term used to describe the deterioration of joints from a variety of causes, including disease and wear and tear,” says Dr. Charen. “Over-the-counter treatment may only provide symptom relief, so talk to your doctor about other treatment options.”


If you are under 45 years old, it’s less likely that arthritis is causing your pain. You could be suffering from tendinitis—the inflammation of a tendon—which is usually felt near a joint. Lower back pain can commonly show up as hip pain. Some people develop this condition from overuse in recreational activities or even in the workplace. “Tendinitis can usually be treated with rest, stretching, strengthening exercises and precautions to prevent reinjury,” says Dr. Charen. If these measures don’t provide relief, your doctor can suggest other therapies or surgery if necessary.


Like tendinitis, bursitis is an inflammatory condition usually caused by overuse. It affects small sacs of fluid that cushion joints. “Bursitis usually goes away on its own with rest,” says Dr. Charen. “But if it persists, talk to your doctor. You may find relief from medication, surgery, assistive devices or therapy.”

Tight Muscles

The muscles and bones of our body are connected. Pain in your hip could be caused by tight muscles in your back, buttocks, legs and abdomen. If these muscles are tense, they can pull on bones like your thigh bone, which can cause discomfort. Light stretching can typically relieve tension.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.



Subscribe to get the latest health tips from our expert clinicians delivered weekly to your inbox.

How Healthy are Your Hips and Knees?

Take an online joint pain assessment

Health Risk Assessment
We use cookies to improve your site experience. By using this site,
you agree to our Terms & Conditions. Also, please read our Privacy Policy.
Accept All Cookies