Treating irritable hip 

Most children with irritable hip can be treated at home using a combination of painkillers and bed rest.


The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen is the painkiller usually recommended to treat hip pain. Ibuprofen should help relieve pain, as well as reduce inflammation and speed up your child's recovery.

Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 16, because it can trigger a rare condition called Reye's syndrome.

Massaging the affected hip and applying heat may also help to reduce your child's hip pain.

Bed rest

Bed rest is recommended until the symptoms of pain resolve, which usually takes between seven and 10 days.

Traction may sometimes be applied in hospital during bed rest. This is where bandages and weights are used to reduce the pain by resting the hip joint.

Hospital admission

Your child may be admitted to hospital if the diagnosis is uncertain or painkillers and bed rest haven't eased the pain.

Further tests may be given to rule out an infection inside the hip joint (septic arthritis).

Septic arthritis can be treated by taking antibiotics and draining the infected fluid out of the joint.


It usually takes a couple of weeks to recover from irritable hip, although your GP may recommend that your child does not play sport or take part in any strenuous activities for at least another two weeks following treatment. This is to reduce the chances of irritable hip returning.

Swimming is a good way to strengthen the joint and get it moving again.

A follow-up appointment may be needed up to six months later. This is to rule out other hip conditions that can also cause pain, stiffness and a limp.

Page last reviewed: 04/02/2015

Next review due: 01/02/2018