Exercises for Hip Pain


Although exercise may seem like the last thing that you want to do when you experience pain in your hips, strengthening the muscles around the hip can help reduce the force placed on the hip joint and thus reduce pain.  In addition, stretching the hip helps to increase the range of motion and ease stiffness.

Aerobic Exercise Recommendations

With a disc injury, the best modes of aerobic exercise are:

– Walking
-Swimming/Water Aerobics
-Elliptical machine

These exercises are low-impact, reducing the amount of stress that will be placed on the hip.  To receive maximal health benefits, aerobic exercise should be done at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, 5 days per week.

Strengthening Exercises

clamshell 2 exerciseclamshell 1 exerciseExercise: Clamshell

  • Start on your left side, knees bent at about a 45 degree angle with legs stacked on top of one another.
  • Keeping your feet together, rotate your right knee towards the sky without rotating your pelvis. Keep your lower leg on the floor.
  • Pause at the top before slowly returning to the start.
  • Repeat 12-15 times before switching sides.

standing-back-leg-slide exerciseExercise: Standing Back Leg Slide

  • Stand up straight, holding onto a chair for balance
  • Slide one foot back behind you by tightening your buttock, and keeping your toes on the floor. Slide foot back to start.
  • Repeat 12-15 times before switching sides.




straight-leg-raiseExercise: Straight leg raise

  • Lie on your back with one leg bent and one leg straight.
  • Keeping your lower back flat on the ground and keeping your abdominal muscles engaged by pressing your low back against the floor, raise your straight leg about 45 degrees of the floor with your foot flexed.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly lower.
  • Repeat 10 times before switching sides.


mini-squats exerciseExercise: Mini Squats

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards, holding on to a chair for balance.
  • Bend your knees slightly to sit back into your heels, as though sitting in a chair. Make sure that your knees are not falling inwards and that your knees do not go in front of your toes.  Keep your feet flat on the ground.
  • Drive back up to standing position through your heels. Perform 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions.




bird-dog2 exercisebird-dog 1 exerciseExercise: Bird-dog

  • Start on all fours. If you have sore knees, make sure to kneel on a mat or folded-up towel.  Keep your spine in a neutral position (somebody should be able to balance a drink on your back) and look down to keep your neck long.
  • Lift your right arm and left leg until they are parallel to the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.  Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. That is one repetition.  Repeat 5-10 times.

glut-bridge2glut-bridge1Exercise: Glut Bridge

  • Lie face-up with knees bent and arms resting beside you. Place a rolled-up towel between your knees.
  • While squeezing the towel between your knees, drive up through your heels to lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Pause, and slowly lower to start.
  • Repeat 8-12 times.

Stretching Recommendations

one knee to chest exerciseExercise: One knee to chest

  • Lie down on your back, pulling one knee into your chest by wrapping your hands around your shin.
  • Keep your head and shoulders relaxed back on the floor.
  • Try and keep the opposite leg straight on the ground, however the knee can be bent if needed.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.



butterfly exerciseExercise: Butterfly Groin Stretch

  • Sit up tall with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together. You can perform this stretch sitting with your back against a wall.
  • Lightly press your knees down towards the floor, until you feel a gentle stretch in the groin area.




hip-flexor-stretch exerciseExercise: Hip flexor stretch

  • Kneel on left knee, with right foot in front. If kneeling is uncomfortable for your knees, kneel on towel or mat.
  • Ensure that your left foot is in line with the left knee.
  • Lean forward into your right knee, while ensuring that your right knee does not go in front of your right ankle.
  • Marginally draw your right hip back and your left hip forward to increase the stretch.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.

thread-the-needleExercise: Thread the Needle

  • Lie on your back, with knees bent and feet resting on the floor.
  • Bend your right knee to place outer edge of your right foot on the front of your left thigh and flex your foot.
  • Reach your right arm through the opening that you just created and your left arm around your outer left thigh to grab the back of your left thigh and pull your knee towards your chest.
  • Use your right elbow to guide your right knee away from you, while keeping your head and shoulders relaxed on the floor.
  • You should feel a nice stretch in your right hip.  Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.


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