Exercises and Stretches For Hip Pain

Exercises and Stretches for Hip Pain

From Versus Arthritis

Here are some exercises designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the structures that support your hip.

It’s important to keep active – you should try to do the exercises that are suitable for you every day. Repeat each exercise between 5–10 times and try to do the whole set of exercises 2-3 times a day.

Start by exercising gradually and build up over time. Remember to carry on even when your hip is better to prevent your symptoms returning.

If you have any questions about exercising, ask your doctor.

It’s also a good idea to try to increase your general fitness by going for a regular walk or swim, this will strengthen your whole body – which helps support your hip. It can also improve your general health, fitness and outlook.

Simple stretching, strengthening and stabilising exercises

The following exercises are designed to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the structures that support your hip. These exercises for hip pain (PDF, 983 KB) are also available to download and keep.

It’s important not to overstretch yourself if you’re in pain. It’s normal to feel some aching in the muscles after exercising, but you should stop and seek advice if you have joint pain that lasts more than a few days.

If you’ve had a hip replacement you will probably be advised to take it easy for the first six weeks and not to push yourself too much. Ask your physiotherapist what exercises they recommend you should start with and how to do them.

You may feel slightly uncomfortable during or after exercise, but this should settle within 24 hours. It shouldn’t be painful. If you feel any sudden pain stop exercising and seek medical advice.

An illustration of someone marching on the spot.

Hip flexion (strengthening)

Hold onto a work surface and march on the spot to bring your knees up towards your chest alternately. Don’t bring your thigh above 90 degrees.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, moving their leg backwards and keeping it straight.

Hip extension (strengthening)

Move your leg backwards, keeping your knee straight. Clench your buttock tightly and hold for five seconds. Don’t lean forwards. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing and holding onto a chair, lifting their leg sideways.

Hip abduction (strengthening)

Lift your leg sideways, being careful not to rotate the leg outwards. Hold for five seconds and bring it back slowly, keeping your body straight throughout. Hold onto a chair or work surface for support.

An illustration of someone standing whilst holding onto a table, bending their knee towards their bottom.

Heel to buttock exercise (strengthening)

Bend your knee to pull your heel up towards your bottom. Keep your knees in line and your kneecap pointing towards the floor.

An illustration of someone squatting down, bringing their knees towards their toes.

Mini squat (strengthening)

Squat down until your knees are above your toes. Hold for a count of five if possible. Hold on to a work surface for support if you need to.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with one bent leg and one straight leg with a towel under it's knee. They're raising their foot off the floor.

Short arc quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Roll up a towel and place it under your knee. Keep the back of your thigh on the towel and straighten your knee to raise your foot off the floor. Hold for five seconds and then lower slowly.

An illustration of someone laying down with their legs straight, pulling their toes and ankles towards them whilst pushing their knees to the floor.

Quadriceps exercise (strengthening)

Pull your toes and ankles towards you, while keeping your leg straight and pushing your knee firmly against the floor. You should feel the tightness in the front of your leg. Hold for five seconds and relax. This exercise can be done from a sitting position as well if you find this more comfortable.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their knees bent and hands under the small of their back. They're pulling their belly towards the floor.

Stomach exercise (strengthening/ stabilising)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands under the small of your back and pull your belly button down towards the floor. Hold for 20.

An illustration of someone laying on their back with their feet to standing, lifting their pelvis and lower back off the floor.

Bridging

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower down slowly.

An illustration of someone laying on their back and pulling their knee toward their chest.

Knee lift (stretch)

Lie on your back. Pull each knee to your chest in turn, keeping the other leg straight. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times. If this is difficult, try sliding your heel along the floor towards your bottom to begin with, and when this feels comfortable try lifting your knee.

An illustration of someone sitting with their knees bent and feet together, pressing their knees downwards.

External hip rotation (stretch)

Site you your knees bent and feet together. Press your knees down towards the floor using your hands as needed. Alternatively, lie on your back and part your knees, keeping your feet together. Take the movement up to the point you feel a stretch, hold for around 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5-10 times.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Did You Know That Inactivity is Actually HARD On Your Knees?

Between working from home and being glued to the television watching the latest election updates, many of us are guilty of increased “couch potato” behavior lately.  And we’ve all heard of the dangers of sedentary lifestyles contributing to obesity, etc.,  but did you know that *not* moving can actually weaken your knees and increase your chances of osteoporosis?

Continue reading for more from Noyes Knee Institute and the Journal of Public Health.

From Noyes Knee Institute

Do you spend a lot of time sitting? Maybe you work at an office where most of your time is at your desk, or maybe when you’re at home, you prefer to rest on the couch instead of being on your feet. Many people live a mostly inactive lifestyle, but they might not realize that inactivity can be the reason why they experience increased joint pain.

Learn the reasons why inactivity can hurt your knees and what you can do to change it.

Weakens Your Knees

If you live a life or limited activity, your body adapts to that lack of motion. Essentially, when you aren’t using your legs muscles, ligaments, and joints for moderate levels of activity, you are losing them. Your knees become weaker as you require less of them.

One runner found that as she took time off running to rehabilitate an injury, she could not run after completing her recovery because of knee pain. She had to complete additional physical therapy because the rest had caused her to develop a condition called chondromalacia of the patella.

Essentially, her kneecap would not follow the proper range of motion because she had developed some weakness in the joint. It’s a common condition for people who are not active. Even something as simple as going up or down the stairs can make your knees ache.

If you spend your day sitting, you also experience pain in other areas that can also aggravate the knee. Your quadriceps become tight, which exert a pulling sensation on your knees.

You can help your knees feel better by focusing on flexibility. Stretch daily, and participate in joint-stabilizing exercises like yoga. Try to be more active during the day. Stand at your desk, or take time to walk around the office a few times. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.

Increases Your Risk of Arthritis Pain

If you start to experience joint pain as a result of arthritis, your first instinct is to rest more, because walking, running, biking, or other activities cause pain. However, resting when you have knee pain is often the worst solution.

Resting will cause the muscles that give the knee support to weaken. As a result, they become less able to bear your weight, which results in greater joint pain. Reduced strength in the knee joint also translates to reduced stability, which can increase your risk for accidents and make exercising even more difficult to do safely.

If you have arthritis or if you have a history of arthritis in your family, staying active is one way you can help to prevent it from getting worse. Ask a knee specialist for exercises that are safe and helpful for strengthening your knees without causing you too much pain during workouts.

Promotes Weight Gain

A sedentary lifestyle is often why people struggle to manage their weight. Gaining weight with age is common, and spending your days seated can make that problem worse. With every extra pound, the pressure on your knees increases by about four pounds. So, just 10 pounds of extra weight means 40 pounds of pressure on your knees.

All that stress naturally means that your knees start to hurt, and they can hurt even more when you try to be active again. Make sure you intentionally choose low impact exercise as first. Try a stationary bike or a brisk walk in supportive shoes to begin. Focus on losing weight through diet control.

After you lose some weight, you can increase your physical workouts if your doctor believes they will be safe. You might try incorporating some resistance training to really give your lower body some increased strength and stability, as long as you also spend time stretching and increasing your flexibility.

Increases Risk for Osteoporosis 

From the Daily Mail

Being a couch potato weakens your bones: Adults in their 60s face greater risk of fractures if they spend hours sitting down each day – but walking 10,000 steps each day helps

  • The study of 214 adults was published today in the Journal of Public Health
  • It is the first to show a link between a sedentary lifestyle and osteoporosis
  • Participants’ hips and spines were scanned to measure their bone density

A couch potato lifestyle leads to weaker bones in later life, particularly for men, researchers have found.

Experts discovered that men spent more time on average sitting still than women and therefore had weaker bones, particularly in their lower back.

But the new findings, conducted by academics from Durham and Newcastle universities, show that even just completing 10,000 steps a day can help to keep bones strong.

The study showed that people in their sixties who spent a lot of time sitting down had weaker bones which increased their risk of developing ‘fragility’ fractures.

It is well known that weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises are important for building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, is the first to show that a sedentary lifestyle in men is associated with weaker bones and osteoporosis.

More than half a million fragility fractures – where a fracture occurs from a fall at standing height or less – happen each year in the UK. It is estimated that by 2025, that number will have gone up by 27 per cent.

Dr Karen Hind, of the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University, said: ‘We know that excessive sedentary time can lower someone’s metabolism which can lead to being overweight and Type 2 diabetes.

‘What we now know is that being inactive is also associated with lower bone strength and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

‘Osteoporosis is a disease that affects older people but by encouraging this age group to keep active, it will help improve their bone health.’

The research team followed 214 men and women, aged 62, from Newcastle University’s Thousand Families Study.

Each participant wore a monitor for seven consecutive days which measured their physical activity and sedentary time. The number of daily steps was also recorded, and then compared with public health recommendations.

The participants’ hips and spines were scanned to measure their bone density.

Participants involved in 150 minutes of light physical activity a week had better bone strength than the more sedentary participants, according to the findings.

The men who spent more than 84 minutes per day sitting still, compared to the average of 52 minutes, had 22 per cent lower bone density in their spine.

The researchers say the impact on their bone density is similar to that of smoking, which is also a risk factor for osteoporosis.

The economic and personal costs of osteoporosis are substantial – in the UK the direct costs of fragility fractures are estimated to be £4.4billion which includes £1.1billion for social care.

The participants all lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Public Health England statistics indicate that the North East has the greatest proportion of physically inactive adults and the highest incidence of hip fractures compared to the rest of the UK.

The researchers said that the message from their findings is: stay active and reduce sedentary time.

They emphasised that the study shows that hitting the daily target of 10,000 steps and avoiding long periods of sedentary time will increase bone strength.

They say that even making daily lifestyle ‘hacks’ can make a difference – such as parking the car further away from the shopping centre or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

Dr Hind added: ‘Currently there are no specific guidelines for this age group to encourage light physical activity or to reduce sedentary time.

‘Yet, as people retire they are more likely to increase the time they spend watching television and reduce their daily step count.

‘It would be great to see initiatives that specifically target this group to increase their awareness of the importance of staying active and reducing the amount of time spent sitting still.’

Learn more about bone health


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Daily Stretching Routine for Seniors

From AAPTIV

Tight muscles, stiff joints, and aches and pains—aging can take a toll on your body, but the good news is that stretching can help you feel better.

Research indicates that stretching improves flexibility, promotes balance, and has the power to reduce pain or stress. Additionally, stretches that focus on posture and mobility can support daily activities and limit your risk of falling or injury.

Check out these ten easy stretches for seniors and use them to get moving in a safe way. Please be sure to get approval from your doctor before performing any of the below stretches.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

“One of my top stretches for seniors is the hip flexor stretch because most of us spend a lot of time sitting down either in an office or at home,” says Rob Jackson, a personal trainer at London-based Minimal FIT. “This shortens the hip flexor muscles. Stretching out this area helps with posture, spine alignment, and maintenance of a good walking or running stride.”

How to do this stretch:

  • Kneel down on the floor on both knees. (Modification tip: You can kneel on a rolled-up blanket or towel if the floor hurts your knees or you’re recovering from a knee injury.)
  • Step your right foot forward and keep it flat on the floor.
  • Your right knee will be at a 90-degree angle, while your left shin is on the floor behind you with your foot stretched out.
  • Sink your body down while keeping both hands on your right knee.
  • Move your right foot farther forward to increase the stretch, and continue to sink down.
  • Maintain an upright body position, and engage your ab muscles.
  • Feel the stretch on your left hip, left quad (front of upper leg), and maybe your right hamstring (back of the upper leg and glute area).

Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then switch legs. To deepen the stretch, take deep breaths and relax on every exhalation.

Calf Stretch

“Ever feel like the back of your ankle is so tight that it becomes hard for you to squat down without losing your balance?” asks Dr. Fei Jiang, a physical therapist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center Performance Therapy in Santa Monica, California.

If so, here’s a great stretch to address calf tightness that can be done against a wall.

How to do this stretch:

  • Begin in a standing position facing a wall, and place your hands on the wall.
  • Put one leg behind you with the knee straight, and keep the other leg in front with the knee bent.
  • Keep your hips and feet pointing straight forward, with both heels down.
  • Lean toward the wall until you feel a stretch in your back lower leg and front of the hip.

Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat three times per side.

Seated Shoulder Stretch

According to personal trainer Becky Behling, shoulders are easily injured with age, and older adults often experience tight, weak muscles in the front of the chest and the back. She loves stretching this part of the body and offers an exercise that can be done standing or from a chair or seated position.

How to do this stretch, from a chair:

  • Scoot to the front edge of your seat, and reach your hands behind to hook your fingers around the chair.
  • Use your hands to anchor this stretch—the more you move forward (away from your hands), the more intense the stretch. If your shoulders are very stiff and/or injured, this can be done one side at a time.
  • To challenge the stretch, slide your hands higher on the chair edges. Depending on shoulder mobility and height of the back of the chair, it may be possible to bring your hands to the top of the chair.

Repeat movements a few times, taking care to avoid pain in the shoulder area.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

“One of the culprits of sitting too much is the development of tight hamstrings, which can cause lower back pain with bending forward and poor posture with standing,” Dr. Jiang says. “The good news is that stretching the hamstrings is simple  and can be done just about anywhere.”

How to do this stretch:

  • Begin by sitting on a chair or bench.
  • Bring one leg straight in front, keeping your foot on the ground.
  • Maintain hips facing forward.
  • With a straight back, slowly lean forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg.

Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat three times per side.

Chest Stretches

If your chest or front shoulder muscles often feel tight, or your shoulders or upper back frequently feel rounded forward, then try these two stretches for seniors from a seated or standing position, notes Debra Atkinson, fitness professional and founder of Flipping 50.

How to do the first stretch:

  • From a seated or standing posture, put your fingertips close to your ears, and attempt to make elbows touch behind your head. (Hint: It’s not going to happen!)

How to do the second stretch:

  • Stand facing a wall, with your hands on the wall at about waist height. (Modification tip: You can also use a countertop.)
  • Move your feet far enough away so that your weight can go to your heels, not the balls of your feet.
  • Keep your hips slightly behind your feet as you stretch your arms out straight, similar to the position of a downward-facing dog in yoga.

Hold each one for 15 seconds, and release. Repeat two to three times.

Alternating Arm Reaches

“Having good posture not only makes you look better but also improves your balance and decreases neck pain,” Dr. Jiang says. “Poor posture is often the result of chest muscle tightness and upper back weakness, so look for stretches that help you ‘stand up taller.’”

How to do this stretch:

  • Sit tall in a chair or stand with your hips and upper back against the wall.
  • Slightly tuck your chin, and reach the top of your head toward the ceiling.
  • With straight elbows, reach up with one arm, attempting to bring it back past the ears.
  • Reach up until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest and upper back.

Hold for five seconds, and then put down your arm and repeat with the opposite arm. Do two rounds of ten sets per side.

Seated Spinal Stretch

“By the time a person becomes an octogenarian, spinal mobility has declined 25 percent in flexion, 33 percent in lateral flexion, and up to 50 percent in extension,” Behling says. “The outcomes of such decreases include pain, joint wear and tear, loss of muscle optimization, challenged mobility, and greater risk of tripping or falling.” As a result, spine stretches for seniors are key to health.

How to do this stretch:

  • From a seated position, cup your knees with the palms of your hands to create traction.
  • Round through your spine, float your chin toward your throat (not your chest), and rock toward the back of your “sit” bones.
  • Lengthen and widen your back in every direction, side-to-side, head-to-tail, and in a diagonal or spiral movement (e.g., from one sit bone toward your opposite shoulder or lengthening into the diagonal and returning).
  • Come back to upright sitting.
  • Arch your spine while releasing and widening your shoulders/chest to lift your sternum (breastbone) and face fully upward. Feel that you are now sitting forward on the sit bones.
  • Come back to upright sitting, and repeat from the beginning to move from rounded to arched position.

Repeat as many times as comfortable.

Standing Side Reach

Tasks such as grabbing objects from a high shelf at home or the grocery store can be challenging, Dr. Jiang says, because they require shoulder and trunk flexibility as well as good balance. Practicing a standing side stretch can help you reach higher surfaces easier.

How to do this stretch:

  • Sit tall in a chair or stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Reach up and out toward the same side while shifting weight to the leg of the same side, as if you’re reaching up to grab an object.
  • While maintaining good balance, reach out until you feel a stretch on the side of your trunk.

Hold for five seconds, and then return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm. Do two rounds of ten sets per side.

Hip and Back Stretches

Though there are all kinds of ways to stretch your hips and back, Atkinson recommends two particular stretches for seniors who are able to get to the floor or a firm surface. These are passive, static stretches, so let gravity do most of the work. (Modification tip: You can prop pillows under your legs to reduce the intensity.)

How to do the first stretch:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your right leg over the left as if you’re sitting in a chair with legs crossed.
  • Lift your hips and move them to the right a few inches before setting back down.
  • Open your arms out to the right and left, and attempt to keep your upper back on the floor.
  • Allow your legs to fall to the left, and let your hips and lower back relax. Repeat on the other side.

How to do the second stretch:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Widen your feet to a yoga-mat-width apart.
  • Allow both of your knees to fall to the left side.
  • Try to keep your upper back and shoulder blades down.
  • If this is enough and you’re feeling a stretch, stop. If you need more stretch, place your left ankle on top of your right knee, hold, and then repeat on the other side.

Hold and breathe from each stretch for up to a minute.

Arm Across Chest Reach

“Being able to twist from your trunk not only helps you with dance moves but also increases the ease with the following functional movements: rolling over in bed, grabbing your seat belt, reaching across the table, and swinging arms as you walk,” Dr. Jiang explains.

How to do this stretch:

  • Sit tall in a chair or stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Reach horizontally across your chest while twisting from the upper trunk.
  • While maintaining good balance, reach until you feel a stretch through the upper back.

Hold for five seconds, and then return to starting position and repeat with the opposite arm. Do two rounds of ten sets per side.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.