7 Exercises To Help Ease Hip Pain
In the UK 20.3 million people have a musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis or joint pain. Living with joint pain can have a big impact - not just on a person’s physical health, but on their mental health as well.
A key way of managing joint pain and arthritis is through exercise. This doesn’t have to be rigorous exercise in a gym or running, but can often be a case of simple stretches and exercises that can be done from home to keep painful joints moving.
By moving a painful joint, you encourage the essential synovial fluid within the joint to keep moving and bringing in essential nutrients. Furthermore, by moving painful joints you increase the strength in the muscles around them, allowing the joint to be better supported.
If you are living with osteoarthritis or joint pain in the hip, there are multiple accessible exercises you can do to strengthen the different muscles needed to help support and stabilise your hip joints. We’ve rounded up 7 effective and easy hip exercises which you can do in the comfort of your own home.
As with all exercises, listen to your body and only do what you feel comfortable doing. A little bearable pain when you begin is okay but if it starts to hurt more, stop immediately. If you are unsure please consult your GP or a trained healthcare professional.
1. Leg Raise
Purpose: To strengthen the muscles in your core, bottom and legs to reduce the strain on your hips.
- Lie flat on the floor on your stomach - you can turn your head to one side for comfort. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and stomach and gently raise one leg off the ground at about a 35-40 degree angle.
Remember to keep the leg as straight as possible.
- Hold it for 5-10 seconds and then gently lower it. Do the same on the other leg and repeat 3 to 4 times.
Purpose: to strengthen the muscles in the legs to allow them to carry more weight instead of it being on your hips.
- Hold on to the back of a chair, kitchen counter or table for balance.
- Put your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor.
- Gently squat down bending your knees so your knees are over your big toes - do not let your knee go beyond this point.
- Raise yourself back up to a standing position.
- Do this for a minute or two until you feel tired.
Take a short break and do two more repetitions of this.
As you feel your strength improving you can squat lower but do not let your knees go over your big toes; bring your bottom down rather than pushing your knees any further forward.
Purpose: to help move the hip joint, increasing its range of movement as well as strengthening the surrounding muscles.
- Lie flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keeping your arms flat on the floor, slowly lift your lower back and pelvis towards the ceiling until your body forms a straight line.
- Hold for 5-10 seconds and then gently lower.
- Repeat 5 times.
4. Hip Abduction
Purpose: to get the hip joint gently moving, strengthening the surrounding muscles to provide better support.
- Stand upright and use a chair or surface for support.
- Lift one leg out to the side, without bending it, and hold for 5 seconds before gently returning to the starting position.
- Repeat this five times and then do the same on the other leg.
Purpose: to get the hip joint flexing in a lateral way to encourage range of movement and help relieve joint pain.
- Lie on your side with your knees bent.
- Keep your back straight and feet together.
- Tighten the muscles in your bottom.
- Lift your top knee as far as you can without rotating your pelvis backwards or forwards.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
- Then switch to the other leg.
6. Lying External Hip Rotation
PLEASE NOTE: The video above mentions using a resistance band. You can, of course, do this, but we suggest starting without one and seeing how you go before working up to this if you feel you can manage it.
Purpose: Encourages the muscles around the hip joint to strengthen and also gets the hip joint moving in a gentle way.
- Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Starting with your knees together, slowly separate them until they are roughly shoulder width apart.
- Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
- Try to do 10 repetitions of this.
7. Static Gluteals
Purpose: To strengthen the muscles in the buttocks to help take the burden off the hip joints.
- Lie on your back, either on the floor or a bed, with your legs straight.
- Tighten the muscles in your buttocks by clenching them together and holding for 10 seconds.
- Release and go again.
- Repeat 10 times.