Hip pain may not be quite as common as knee pain, but that doesn’t make it any less painful. Like any other joint, your hip joints benefit from regular exercise to keep them strong and flexible. Even if you already have hip pain, research shows exercise may dramatically delay the need for some types of medical treatment. Plus, when you relieve hip pain and strengthen the joint, you can reduce your risk of future injuries, too.
What exercises are good for hip pain?
For most people with hip pain, stretches are the best way to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in the other joint structures. Likewise, hip pain exercises to avoid generally include any type of weight-bearing exercises, since these can make your injury and your symptoms much worse. Before any type of exercise, you should warm up your leg muscles with walking in place or a few minutes on an exercise bike if it’s not too painful. After your warm-up, try these three simple hip pain stretches to relieve inflammation and restore mobility.
1. Build a bridge
Lying on your back, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are about hip-width apart. Now, press down with your lower legs and feet while you raise your buttocks off the floor, contracting your abdominal and core muscles. Try to keep your body in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders to avoid straining your back. Hold the stretch for about five seconds, then slowly lower your buttocks to the starting position. Try to do a set of 10.
2. Be a butterfly
This classic yoga pose helps stretch your thigh muscles and improve joint flexibility. Sitting on the ground, bend your legs and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you until they touch. Let your knees fall to either side. Using your hands, gently pull your heels as close to your body as you can without causing pain. At the same time, rest your elbows on your knees and gently push down toward the ground. You should feel a stretch, but no pain. Hold for about 30 seconds.
3. Tone the inner thighs
If you have inner hip pain, strengthening your inner thigh muscles can relieve symptoms by providing extra support. To do this exercise, you’ll need a soft ball. No ball? You can use a firm pillow. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and place the ball between your knees. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can by tightening your thigh muscles. Hold for about 10 to 15 seconds, then relax and repeat for a set of 10.
Stretches for Outer Hip Pain
A lot of outer hip pain is caused by iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome. Your iliotibial band is a tough band of tissue that extends from your hip all the way down to your knee. ITB syndrome sometimes occurs with another painful condition called bursitis. To combat pain associated with ITB syndrome, try these three stretches:
Standing ITB stretch
Standing upright, cross your left leg behind your right leg. Then lean to the right side until you feel a stretch in your outer thigh. (You might also feel the stretch in your knee.) Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side. Aim for four sets.
Seated ITB stretch
Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right leg and bend your left knee, placing your left foot flat on the ground. Now, put your right hand on top of your left knee and gently pull your knee toward your right shoulder as you rotate your torso toward the left. You should feel a stretch in your thigh. Hold the position for about 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Aim for four sets. (Confused? You can find demonstrations of these stretches on YouTube.)
Walking and Hip Pain
Lots of people ask, is walking good for hip pain? The answer is yes — usually. If your hip pain is caused by a physical injury or defect in the joint, walking might make your pain worse. Sometimes, swimming is a better exercise than walking since the water helps reduce the impact on your joints.
It may be tempting to start stretching right away, but if you’ve got certain types of hip injuries, not only will stretching not help, it might actually hurt. No matter what type of hip symptoms you have, the bottom line here is pretty simple: Before embarking on any type of DIY plan to relieve hip pain, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Van Thiel to find out what’s causing those symptoms in the first place. Stop living with hip pain, and take that first step toward hip pain relief. Call the office of Dr. Van Thiel at (815) 398-9491 or request an appointment at our Rockford practice today.
Dr. Van Thiel treats patients from all over Wisconsin and Illinois including Rockford, Elgin, Huntley, Dekalb, Crystal Lake, Barrington, McHenry, and Beloit.