5 types of hip exercises you can do to combat hip pain


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According to our Joint Pain Matters survey, 46.29% of respondents said that their hip pain has worsened during COVID-19. 68.88% of these respondents also said that they suffer from poor mental health as a result of being in pain. We explore five hip exercises you can try to combat joint pain and strengthen your hip muscles. These exercises do not require gym equipment, so can be incorporated into your everyday routine at home. We also identify exercises you can try to support your recovery following hip replacement surgery.  

Hip strengthening exercises 

1. The Clam  

The clam is a hip strengthening exercise that you can practice to strengthen the muscles around your hips and in your buttocks. 

How to strengthen your hip muscles with the clam  

Begin by lying on your side with your weaker hip facing upwards.  

Keep your ankles together and slowly lift your top knee off of your bottom knee.  

The NHS recommends repeating the clam exercise 10 times for ideally at least three times a day. 

 

2. Side leg lifting  

Side leg lifts are a hip strengthening exercise that targets the gluteal (buttock) muscles around your hip and bottom.  

How to strengthen your hip muscles with side leg lifting 

Begin by lying your side on either your bed or the floor.   

Lift your right or left leg upwards and then, slowly bring your leg down. 

Repeat this exercise eight to ten times for each leg. 

 

3. The bridge 

This bridge exercise can strengthen and improve stability in your hips by targeting the gluteal muscles in your hips and bottom.  

How to strengthen your hip muscles through a bridge 

Begin by lying on your back with knees bent.  

Tighten your buttocks and lift your bottom off the floor. Make sure you do not arch your back during this exercise. Afterwards, gradually lower your buttocks to the floor.   

Repeat this bridge exercise 10 times. 


Hip mobility exercises 

If you’re suffering with hip osteoarthritis, hip stretching or hip mobility exercises can help improve movement in your hips. 

1. Hamstring stretch 

A hamstring stretch can increase mobility in your hips by targeting the back of your thigh muscles. 

How to increase mobility in your hips through a hamstring stretch 

Begin by standing upright and then placing your foot on a step.  

Gradually, lean forwards at your hips until you can feel a stretch under your thigh.  

It is important to keep your back straight during a hamstring stretch. You can hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Repeat this exercise at least five times.  

 

2. Quadriceps stretch 

A quadriceps stretch promotes mobility in your hips by focusing on the muscles at the front of your thigh. These are known as your quadriceps.  

How to increase mobility in your hips through a quadriceps stretch 

Start by standing and placing your hands on a firm object such as a chair.  

Slowly lift your ankle to your bottom – you should be able to feel a stretch in your thigh 

Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and repeat this exercise at least five times. 

 

3. Hip flexor stretches  

A hip flexor stretch encourages mobility by targeting the muscles at the front of your hip and the back of your thigh.  

How to increase mobility in your hips through a hip flexor stretch 

Begin by placing your knee on a stool or chair. Your other leg should be positioned slightly in front of you.  

Now lean forwards. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.  

Make sure your back remains straight during this stretch. 

 

Hip replacement exercises  

What hip replacement exercises can you do after having a hip replacement surgery? After your hip replacement surgery, the NHS advises performing the following hip exercises to support your recovery. 

1. Hip flexion  


A hip flexion exercise can help promote your recovery after a hip replacement and lower your risk of developing blood clots in your lower leg.  

How to support your recovery from a hip replacement surgery with hip flexion exercises 

Start by lying on your side.  

Next bend your knees and place one hand over your top ankle.  

Holding your ankle, lift your bent leg towards your bottom. Make sure you keep your back straight during this exercise.  

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Finish this exercise by bringing your leg back to its original position. The NHS recommends repeating this exercise 10 times. 

 

2. Hip abduction  

A hip abduction exercise is also recommended by the NHS to support your recovery following a hip replacement surgery. 

How to support your recovery from hip replacement surgery with hip abduction exercises 

You can even do this exercise on your bed. Begin by lying down with your legs stretched out in front of you.  

Gradually, move your leg out to the side. Hold this position for ten seconds before relaxing. 

Afterwards, return your leg to its original position. You can repeat this exercise for your other leg.  

Repeat this hip abduction exercise five times for four times per day.  

 

3. Static quads 

Static quads are another exercise you can do to support your recovery from a joint replacement surgery.  

How to support your recovery from a hip replacement surgery through static quads 

Start by lying or sitting on your bed with your legs out in front of you.  

Afterwards push the back of your knee down into your bed to tense your quadriceps (these are the muscles at the front on your thigh).  

Hold this position for five seconds before relaxing your muscles. The NHS states you should repeat this exercise 10 times.   


Hip impingement exercises 

Having physiotherapy can allow you to take control over your hip impingement symptoms.

1. Bridge floor 

A bridge floor can help manage pain from a hip impingement by targeting your gluteal and hamstring muscles.  

How to perform a bridge floor to alleviate hip impingement symptoms  

Start by lying down and slowly, lift your pelvis off the floor.  

Afterwards, return to your starting position. You should feel tension in your gluteal (buttock) and hamstring muscles (the back of your thigh muscles) while performing this exercise.  

Repeat this exercise three to four times a week.  



2. A standing quad stretch  


A standing quad stretch can help improve pain from a hip impingement. It is an exercise that you can use to manage pain before trying surgery. 

How to do a standing quad stretch 


Place one hand on a firm object such as a chair.  

Next standing upright, use your other hand to pull your foot directly behind your buttocks.  

Make sure you keep your back straight. Repeat this exercise three to four times a week.  



3. A standing hip abduction 

If you’re suffering from a hip impingement, another exercise you can practise to ease pain is a standing hip abduction 

How to perform a standing hip abduction 

Start by standing upright and move your leg out to the side without moving your hips. 

Repeat this exercise three to four times a week.   


Hip bursitis exercises  

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) affects your gluteal (buttock) muscles at the side of your hips. It is referred to as hip bursitis or trochanteric bursitis. It can often be associated with swelling of your bursa (a fluid-filled sac that cushion you joints) at the side of your hip. GTPS can trigger pain in your hips, which can spread to your thighs and buttocks.  

However, there are number of hip bursitis exercises you can do to manage your symptoms.  

1. An iliotibial band stretch (ITB)  

An iliotibial band stretch can help manage pain in your gluteal muscles from GTPS.  

How to perform an iliotibial band stretch 


Stand with your feet apart with your affected hip next to a firm support such a wall.  

Begin by crossing the leg on the side of your affected hip behind the other.  

Place one hand on the wall and slowly move your affected hip towards the wall.  

The NHS advises holding this position for 10 seconds before returning to a standing position.  



2. A piriformis stretch 

Another exercise you can do to manage hip pain is a piriformis stretch.  

How to do a piriformis stretch
  

Start by lying on your back and bending our knees.  

Cross either one of your legs over the other and place your hand under your bottom leg.  

Bring your bottom leg forwards towards your chest.  

If you’ve performed this correctly, the NHS states you should feel a tightness in your right or left buttock.  

 

3. A cat stretch  


A cat stretch can also help you manage pain from GTPS.  

How to perform a cat stretch 

A cat stretch consists of first kneeling into a cat-like position. 

You will then need to raise your head to face forwards and push your stomach downwards. 

Hold this position for a few seconds.  
 

 

A girl stretching

After you have completed this part of the stretch, raise your stomach upwards and arch your back.

You should still be in a kneeling position. 

 

a girl doing the cat-crow pose

Again, hold this position for a few seconds — you can repeat this exercise five to six times.


Download our FREE report exploring the realities of living with joint pain


If you would to seek treatment for your joint pain, we have a number of specialists at Circle Health Group who could help you. To speak to a Consultant, please call us on: 0808 301 3078, or make an online enquiry

  

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