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Psoriatic Arthritis Hip Pain: What It Feels Like

Medically reviewed by Zeba Faroqui, M.D.
Written by Suzanne Mooney
Posted on June 1, 2023

It can be hard to pinpoint the source of hip pain, but if you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA), that condition might be a prime suspect. PsA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes joint pain and damage. This autoimmune disease typically affects the joints in the hands and feet, but around 7 percent to 15 percent of people with PsA report experiencing hip pain.

“My rheumatologist diagnosed me with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “My joints got sore quite quickly. I had X-rays of both hips and now I need a hip joint replacement, maybe next year.”

In this article, learn what causes PsA hip pain and how it feels to MyPsoriasisTeam members. If your hips hurt because of PsA, seek medical care from your primary care provider or a rheumatologist.

What Causes Hip Pain in Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissue, leading to inflammation in the joints, skin, and organs. It can affect any joint and anywhere your tendons and ligaments attach to bones.

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Stiffness, often in the morning or after sitting for long periods
  • Fatigue (unexplained or excessive tiredness)
  • Reduced range of motion that may affect daily activities
  • Dactylitis (swollen fingers or toes), also called sausage fingers
  • Nail changes, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed
  • Joint pain, such as throbbing or tenderness

When PsA causes hip pain, you may feel it in the groin, outer thigh, or buttocks. The hips and pelvis are where tendons, ligaments, and bones come together. These sites are called entheses. When an enthesis becomes inflamed, the condition is called enthesitis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 1 in 3 people with PsA develop enthesitis.

“I get pain in almost all of my joints, but it is always worse in my left hip and shoulder,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “I flare up whenever it rains or snows or the temperature changes.”

Other Possible Causes of Hip Pain

Psoriatic arthritis isn’t the only cause of hip pain. Other potential sources include:

  • Osteoarthritis — A common form of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage protecting the bones erodes from joint use and regular wear and tear
  • Joint infection — The result of bacteria traveling through the bloodstream and affecting the hip joint
  • Injury — A bruised or broken hip caused by a sports injury, serious fall, or another type of accident
  • Bursitis — Inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sacs) that cushion the joints
  • Osteonecrosis — A rare condition that develops when the blood supply is disrupted, killing bone tissue
  • Other types of arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, spondyloarthritis, and reactive arthritis

Another condition associated with hip pain is psoriatic spondylitis. Although the pain may feel like it’s in your hip joints, psoriatic spondylitis is actually spinal inflammation. This condition occurs in roughly 5 percent of people with PsA and often triggers pain in the buttocks and lower back, according to CreakyJoints.

One MyPsoriasisTeam member suspects their hip pain has one of two causes. “I had pain in my shoulder and ankle,” they said. “Now I have it in my right hip. It’s either from sleeping on that side at night or now that joint is going too.”

Another member said, “If you have hip pain, it’s time to see a rheumatologist. There are other inflammatory diseases that can get misdiagnosed as psoriatic arthritis.”

Schedule an appointment with your health care provider if you experience pain in one or both hips or in your lower back, buttocks, or outer thigh. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member said, “To receive the correct medication for the condition, you need the correct diagnosis.”

What PsA Hip Pain Feels Like

Members of MyPsoriasisTeam describe PsA hip pain as stiff and unpredictable. They also report that it is more severe in the morning or after sitting for long periods. Here are some of their descriptions:

  • “My pain started in my legs and then moved to my left hip. Now it’s in both hips.”
  • “I have a lot of pain and stiffness. It takes me a while to loosen up in the morning.”
  • “The pain is excruciating and has gone all the way up into my hips.”
  • “My psoriatic arthritis pain is primarily in my hips and lower back. I have severe morning stiffness and sometimes can barely walk after sitting for a while.”
  • “My hip pain varies day to day and week to week.”
  • “I mostly have pain in my left hip and lower back. Sometimes, the right hip hurts too, but not as bad as the left.”
  • “Most of the time, the pain is in my left hip or shoulder.”
  • “I have flare-ups that cause the muscles to tighten and not release.”
  • “When I get it really bad in my hips, it spreads outward, and the pain feels like it goes all the way across.”
  • “I can feel fine one day and then wake up the next day and feel achy.”
  • “I could barely walk. I was in a lot of pain and felt so stiff.”
  • “The pain jumps from hip to hip. Then, my lower back has to join in!”

The descriptions above might have you nodding in agreement — or your hip pain might not feel like anyone else’s. Try to be as specific as possible when describing the pain to your doctor so they can figure out how best to manage it.

How To Manage PsA Hip Pain

The first step to managing psoriatic arthritis hip pain is getting an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history. They may also recommend X-rays or blood tests to eliminate other potential causes, including another type of arthritis.

Treating psoriatic arthritis hip pain often takes a team effort. In addition to your primary care physician, you may need to work with a rheumatologist to get results that ease your pain and improve your quality of life. Read more about ways to manage PsA hip pain.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 117,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Do you have hip pain caused by psoriatic arthritis? What does it feel like? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

Posted on June 1, 2023
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Zeba Faroqui, M.D. earned her medical degree from the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Learn more about her here.
Suzanne Mooney writes about people, pets, health and wellness, and travel. Learn more about her here.

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