If you have pain on the side of your hip at night, it might be due to bursitis (inflammation of a bursa).
What is a bursa? A bursa is a small fluid filled cushion, usually quite flat, similar to a barely filled plastic bag of water. They are present in many areas around our joints, and may cause pain around your hips, shoulders, elbows and knees.
If you have hip bursitis, there is less pain when you are sitting, but you usually will feel pain with walking, pressing on the side of your hip, and especially when lying on that side at night. Pain at night is often the main complaint I hear from my patients. Nothing is worse than having pain on the side you normally like to sleep on!
Pain may be felt sometimes down the side of your leg almost to your knee. Pain from hip bursitis will not go below the knee (that would suggest a pinched nerve in your low back, like sciatica). The pain may be very sharp if the bursitis is severe.
The main bursa is on the side of your hip. This is the most common place for hip bursitis, and is called trochanteric bursitis. This may be caused from an injury (falling on the side of your hip) or strenuous or repetitive activities. If the muscle on the side of the hip is too tight and pinches down on the bursa, this may cause bursitis. New activities such as prolonged walking or running may lead to hip bursitis. Hip tendinitis in addition to bursitis and may be especially difficult to treat (a double whammy).
Sometimes hip bursitis is due to a more serious disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or even infection.
For more ideas on why you might be having pain in your hip area, answer the hip pain questions at http://www.painspot.com/.