Your hips are the strongest and second-most versatile set of joints in your body — only your shoulder joints have a greater degree of mobility.
These important load-bearing joints may be inherently resilient, but they’re also prone to a variety of painful problems, including acute traumatic injuries, repetitive use injuries, tendon inflammation, degenerative joint disease, joint inflammation, and severe muscle strain.
Healthy hip joints don’t just support your body and keep you mobile, they also help prevent the lower back and knee injuries that are more likely to develop when your hip joints are weakened by inflammation, pain, damage, or dysfunction.
As board-certified orthopedists who evaluate and treat people with persistent hip pain on a routine basis, our expert team at Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County knows that often, the right exercises can go a long way in keeping your hips strong, mobile, and pain-free.
With that in mind, here are our favorite stretching exercises to improve hip flexibility and ease pain.
Your hip flexors are small muscles located at the front of your hip and thigh. Having hip arthritis or sitting a lot can make them overly tight. To stretch your hip flexors:
If your knee that’s resting on the floor is uncomfortable, you can cushion it with a small pillow. This stretch can also feel easier with the support of a stability ball.
Your Iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that extends from the outside of your hip joint (lateral hip) to the outside of your knee joint (lateral knee). While it doesn’t contract, it’s connected to muscles that do. IT band inflammation can be felt as both hip and knee pain.
To stretch your IT band:
It’s best to alternate between your left and right side with this stretch rather than performing all four repetitions on one side before switching to the other hip.
This stretch eases tightness in the piriformis, or the thin muscle within your buttocks that enables hip rotation and allows your legs and feet to point outward. You should feel this stretch in your buttocks as well as through your lower back and the sides of your hips.
To stretch your piriformis:
With this stretch, it’s important to keep your sit bones pressed into the floor from start to finish.
Our Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County team can create an individualized program to help you improve your hip strength, flexibility, and range of motion and alleviate hip stiffness and pain. It’s a win-win. Call or click online today to schedule a visit at our location most convenient to you — Atlantis, Boynton Beach, or Wellington, Florida.