Hip Bursitis Exercises

Hip bursitis is a condition that results from inflammation in the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction in joints. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it causes pain and stiffness that can extend from the thigh area and spread across the hip. Although this condition causes major discomfort, there are exercises that can help promote strength and flexibility and reduce hip pain.

Physical Therapy Excercises for Hip PainExercises to Relieve Hip Bursitis Pain

If you’re looking for hip pain relief, there is a range of exercises that engage the muscles surrounding your hips for you to consider trying. Exercises like the clamshell, the iliotibial band stretches, and hip rotator stretches are generally recommended. Additionally, exercises like hip squeeze and straight leg raise support hip functionality.


Named for the way your legs and hips resemble a clamshell, this exercise helps strengthen your hips and stabilizes your pelvic muscles.

What does a clamshell exercise look like?

  1. Grab a comfy pillow and lay down on your side. Make sure that your affected hip is on top and your head is comfortably propped up on the pillow. Bend both knees and make sure to keep both your knees and feet together.  
  2. While laying down, raise your top knee while keeping your bottom knee on the ground. Try to keep your hips steady and do not let them roll backward. 
  3. Hold your top knee in the air for 5-10 seconds. Your knees should look like a clamshell. 
  4. Slowly lower your top knee back down and then rest for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat.

Straight Leg Raise

This is a simple yet effective exercise to help relieve the pain from hip bursitis. If you are dealing with knee pain as well, this exercise allows you to keep your knees straight and only focuses on strengthening the muscles of the upper thigh and the quadriceps. 

What does a straight-leg raise look like?

  1. Find a comfortable area and lay down with your back on the floor. Make sure to grab a pillow and place it beneath your knee for extra support. 
  2. Raise one foot off the floor and hold for several seconds. Make sure to lower it back down slowly. Do this a few times and remember to keep your knees straight. 
  3. Switch between legs, and take breaks in between if needed.

Hip Squeeze

This easy exercise is a great way to help with hip pain while strengthening your core and groin. Use this exercise as a part of your at-home physical therapy regime to strengthen your groin and provide hip stability without any extra pressure.

What does a hip squeeze look like? 

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and place a pillow between your knees.
  2. Squeeze the pillow for 5-10 seconds with your knees and then rest for 10-15 seconds. 
  3. Repeat 3-4 times. 

Although hip bursitis can affect anyone, the condition is most common in women, the middle-aged, and the elderly. These exercises are simple and can be done by most individuals seeking bursitis pain relief. Surgery and invasive treatment options are usually only performed in severe cases, so incorporating these light exercises intermittently throughout the day can be an effective go-to remedy. 

At-home exercises, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications are the most common options for patients suffering from the effects of hip bursitis. Always feel free to contact us today to learn more about how to prevent and treat this condition.

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