Physical Therapy Exercises for Hip Pain

There are many exercises that can be used to not only avoid hip pain but strengthen hips. This ensures that you can keep enjoying physical activity and not have discomfort in general day-to-day movement. And the long-term benefits can be significant.

A 2013 study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, for example, revealed that people who participated in an exercise program for at least one hour two times per week for 12 weeks were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later compared with a similar group of people who did not exercise. Whichever common hip injury you may have there are exercises to use regularly and exercises to avoid.

Low Impact Exercises for Hip Pain

Physical Therapy Excercises for Hip PainHip pain and discomfort is a serious matter and warrants a consultation with a highly-qualified physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel who will be able to accurately diagnose a problem. There are several ways that those suffering pain or discomfort can comfortably do to strength and flexibility.

Hip Squeeze

A great way to alleviate some hip pain is to stretch and strengthen your groin. This provides additional stability for the hip without putting pressure on them. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place an object such as a ball or pillow between your knees and squeeze for five to ten seconds and then rest. Repeat several times for maximum impact.

Straight Leg Raise

Lay down flat on the floor. Place a pillow beneath your knee, keeping the back of your thigh on the towel and straightening the knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for several seconds and then lower slowly. If this movement is too intense, consider a seated leg extension in its place. This exercise entails sitting in a chair with your knees bent and feet flat, straightening your knee until your leg is parallel with the floor.

Core Stabilizing

The muscles in the abdomen work in conjunction with the hips so increasing and stabilizing the muscles in this part of your body can help alleviate hip pain, discomfort and tightness. Lie on your back with knees bent. Put your bands under your lower back and pull your belly towards the floor. Hold for at least 15-20 seconds.

Hip Hinge

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your knees bent slightly. Tighten your core (stomach) muscles and bend at the hips and lower your upper body until nearly parallel with the floor (or to whatever degree feels safe and comfortable). Return to the standing position, making sure to use your glutes and hips without relying your lower back. Repeat several times for maximum effect.

Hip Pain Exercises to Avoid

Just as important as it is to know which physical therapy exercises for hip pain to use, it is of equal importance to know which ones to avoid.

One of the dangers of physical therapy for hip pain is that you can easily make the situation worse. In general, it’s best to avoid hip-related exercises requiring an extreme range of motion or high-intensity workouts. That means that activities including the following should be avoided unless you are cleared by a qualified physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon.

  • Running or Jumping: Both running and jumping put extreme pressure on the hips
  • Lunges & Squats: Unless you’re not experience any hip pain, both of these exercises (lunges and squats) require full range of motion in the hip and should be avoided.
  • Hiking on Unstable Terrain: The unpredictability of some types of ground where hiking occurs may worsen your existing hip pain, and put you at risk of additional injury.
  • Weight Lifting: An incredible amount of pressure can be placed on the hips during weight lifting as it is truly a full-body workout.

Yoga as a Hip Strengthening Exercise

One of the simplest ways to strengthen hips over time is Yoga. Not only does the practice offer an opportunity to engage in some low-impact cardio, Yoga can also be used to stretch and strengthen muscles throughout the body including within the hips, legs and back and is effective at helping those experiencing mild discomfort receive some relief.

Physical Therapy Exercises for Hip Pain

There are many other ways to relieve hip pain. Maintaining a healthy weight (which puts less pressure on the hips) and “cooling” any inflammation with ice treatments are two examples. Stretches and exercises may help alleviate pain but if pain persists or gets worse, make sure to see your physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon such as world-renowned Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel, who will be able to assess your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis.

Request a consultation now with Dr. Van Thiel or call our offices to schedule an appointment.


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