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Best Stretches for Hip Pain

Best Stretches for Hip Pain

Jul 13, 2023

Best Stretches for Hip Pain

Is persistent hip pain keeping you up at night or interfering with your mobility? Often, the right exercises can go a long way in keeping your hips strong, mobile, and pain-free. Here are three of our favorite stretches for hip pain.

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. 

Hip flexors stretch

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:

  1. Start on your knees, with your lower legs stretched out behind you and your body upright
  2. Bring your right knee up to a 90-degree angle; your heel should be under your knee and your foot flat on the floor
  3. Keep your shoulders back and your chest lifted; engage your abdominals
  4. Place your hands on your right knee, then slowly lunge your knee and upper body forward
  5. Slide forward until you feel a gentle stretch through the front of your left hip and thigh 
  6. Hold the stretch for one minute, and repeat three times on each side

 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. 

Standing IT band stretch

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:

  1. Stand with the right side of your body near a wall
  2. Cross your right leg behind your left leg
  3. Your left foot should remain planted on the floor; your right heel should be raised
  4. Place your left hand on your left hip and gently press your right hip toward the wall
  5. Don’t lean your upper body forward or twist at the waist; move through your hip only
  6. Feel the outside area of your right hip and quadriceps (thigh) stretch
  7. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat four times on each side 

 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. 

Seated rotation hip stretch

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:

  1. Begin seated on the floor, with both legs straight in front of you 
  2. Cross your right leg over your left leg, bending your right knee and placing your right foot on the floor
  3. Bring your left elbow across your body and position it against the outside of your right knee, placing your right hand behind you on the floor for support 
  4. Slowly twist your torso toward your bent right knee, using your left arm as a brace that helps you twist into the stretch a bit further 
  5. Turn your head back to gaze over your right shoulder and hold the stretch for 30 seconds
  6. Slowly come back to center, reverse leg positions, and repeat the stretch on the other side. Repeat the entire sequence four times.

 With this stretch, it’s important to keep your sit bones pressed into the floor from start to finish.

You don’t have to live with hip pain

These basic stretches offer a small glimpse of the kinds of exercises we might incorporate into a comprehensive physical therapy and hip pain rehabilitation plan

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.