irritable hip

What is an irritable hip?

Irritable hip (coxitis fugax) is a common condition involving symptoms such as temporary hip pain and limping that primarily affects children. This health tip provides more information about this condition.
Has your child suddenly started limping and you don't know why? And is he or she unable to ignore the pain even when playing? If so, you should do something about it. After all, children can get so absorbed in their playing that they forget everything around them, including any pain they may have.


Irritable hip (coxitis fugax, build-up of fluid the hip joint) usually occurs in children between the ages of four and ten. Some sufferers develop a raised temperature but no fever. We still don't know what causes it. It usually occurs before a cold, but it has sometimes been known to follow a viral stomach or intestinal infection.

Children who develop the condition experience pain in their hip or groin that can extend down to their knee. They usually only feel pain on one side of their body. It is important to rule out a fall as the cause. With irritable hip, the pain is caused by fluid in the hip joint that generally disappears after a few days.


The hip must not bear any strain, which means sports are a no-no. Walking sticks may help relieve strain on the hip joint, and very small children will need to stay in bed.

Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication can be used after consulting a doctor. These drugs help to reduce the local inflammation and fluid build-up. You should see a clear improvement in the condition after a week. Contact a paediatrician if there is no improvement or if the child has a fever of more than 38.5°C.

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