Sciatica and hip: what link? (explanation and advice)

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The legs provide locomotion, walking, jumping and body stability. They also support the weight that is transmitted from the trunk through the coxo-femoral joint. To maintain a good basic structure, it remains important to optimize all the physical capacities of this part of the body.

This requires a good understanding of how the nerves present there, the hip joint system and the function of the lower back. What is the connection between the sciatica and the hip ? We will try to answer this question.

Anatomical reminder

In order to understand the interaction between the hip and the sciatic nerve, it is necessary to have an overview of their respective tomies with that of the lumbar spine.


Support for the body is provided primarily by the spine. This is formed by stacking several vertebrae, including 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 dorsal vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, 5 fused sacrum vertebrae and 4 coccyx vertebrae.

Le Lumbar spine represents the moving part of the spine. It should be noted that the spinal cord ends at the level of the lumbar vertebrae, through which the nerves exit. The lumbar spine curves backwards at an angle of 40 to 60°, which varies from individual to individual. Abnormal curvature of this part of the body can cause significant pain, including sciatica.


La hip is an extremely mobile joint which is formed by the interlocking of the head of the femur in the coxal bone. The intra-articular surfaces of these two bones are covered with cartilage to ensure good sliding of all the parts.

La anatomical structure of the hip shows different articular surfaces.

  • The acetabulum or acetabulum refers to the joint cavity where the head of the femur is housed. It includes a semicircular bony rim and a round ligament to collect the femur.
  • The upper end of the femur which represents most of the head of the bone. This covers two thirds of a sphere 20 to 25 mm in radius and articulates with the acetabulum.

Several ligaments are associated with the periarticular muscles to ensure movements in 3 planes of the hip: flexion – extension, adduction – abduction, internal and external rotation.

The sciatic nerve

Le sciatic nerve guarantees the sensitivity and motor skills of the lower limbs, which makes it a mixed nerve. It is flattened and oval in shape, being the largest and longest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve then arises from a lumbosacral plexus. The latter is formed thanks to the junction of the five spinal nerves which emanate from the vertebrae L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3.

In both lower limbs, the nerve path begins in the lower back and continues to the pelvis, buttock, thigh, leg and foot.

If you want to get more information about the anatomy and course of the sciatic nerve, you can click here.

Causes of hip pain

The hip pain can occur locally or diffusely. There are many possible causes.

Osteoarthritis of the hip

Hip osteoarthritis corresponds to the deterioration or destruction of the cartilage connecting the pelvis to the femur. This chronic condition can lead to significant discomfort when walking. It usually occurs after the age of 50.

The divide

La hip fracture occurs following a fall or a violent shock and results in a break in the head of the femur. The patient finds himself unable to get up and walk.


La hip dislocation occurs when the head of the femur protrudes from the joint socket, most often by dislocating backwards. This leads to severe pain and impotence of the dislocated limb.

Trochanteric bursitis

La trochanteric bursitis comes from inflammation of the bursa, the sac secreting synovial fluid. Symptoms manifest as pain in the outer part of the hip, especially when walking or climbing stairs.

Certain infections (tuberculosis, gout or arthritis), a fall, repetitive movements or a muscular imbalance can cause this situation.


It translates into a gluteal tendon wear. The pain is felt at the level of the lateral aspect of the upper thigh when climbing stairs. The descent is usually no problem.

Avascular necrosis

La avascular necrosis is defined as the death of bone tissue in the femoral head. It occurs as a result of trauma, oncological treatment or a hypercoagulant state of the individual.


La sciatica is characterized by compression of the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve. The main symptom is a pain starting from the hip and up to the soles of the feet.

For more explanation of these different causes of hip pain, please click here.

Definition and explanation of sciatica

La sciatica refers to pain in the lower extremity along the path of the sciatic nerve. It is often accompanied by back pain, because this nerve takes root at the level of the end of the spinal cord in the lumbar spine area.

Each spinal nerve consists of two branches. A dorsal sensory branch and a ventral motor branch. This is why the slightest pinch or the slightest lesion can cause pain, a sensory disorder and a motor disorder.

Symptoms can occur in all areas crossed by the sciatic nerve: lower back, pelvis, thigh, knee, leg, calf, foot.

Most often, sciatica is related to compression from the intervertebral disc or spinal injuries. However, there are also several risk factors responsible for its occurrence.

To know everything about sciatica, you can consult here.

Sciatica and hip: what link?

Le sciatic nerve starts from the lumbar area, crosses the hip muscles and passes through the back of the thigh.

Therefore, abnormal joint movement at the hip directly impacts the sciatic nerve, causing pain, numbness, or tingling anywhere along the line.

Also, if the gluteal muscles are tight or swollen, the sciatic nerve gets compressed. This leads to a feeling of pain from the lower back to the ankles.



What to do in case of sciatic pain in the hip?


If the hip pain or any area of ​​the sciatic nerve passage area persists, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional (such as a family physician, neurosurgeon, or orthopedic surgeon) to determine the source.

Making a diagnosis requires a detailed physical examination of the nerve. an x-ray, a neurological examination and an MRI are also used to guide management and to determine the optimal therapeutic modalities to be prioritized.


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