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Exercises to help your hip pain

Exercises to help stretch your hip muscles

Important: If you have had hip replacement surgery, before doing any of these exercises, you should first talk with your surgeon.

Stretching the muscles in the front of your thigh and hip (standing)

  1. While standing, bend one leg behind you and grab your ankle with your hand on that side. (Hold onto a chair, table, or the wall with the other hand for balance.)
  2. Gently pull your heel back towards your buttock.
  3. You should feel a mild stretch or pull in the muscles in the front of your thigh. Your hip should be pain free. If you need to, reduce the amount of stretching.
  4. While doing this stretch, keep your knees together. Your back should be straight, but do not arch it.
  5. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 4 times.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.

Stretching the muscles in the front of your thigh and hip (lying down)

  • Use a bench or firm bed for this stretch.
  • Sit down near the edge and then lie back. Your buttocks should be at the very edge.
  • Gently pull one knee toward your chest, as far as possible.
  • At the same time, allow the other leg to relax and drop towards the floor.
  • You should feel stretching over the front of your hip and thigh on the leg toward the floor.
  • Hold for around 30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 4 times on each leg.

Stretching the muscles in the back of your thigh and hip (lying down)

  1. Lie down on a flat surface. Your legs should be straight in front of you, a little apart.
  2. While keeping the other leg straight, gently pull your knee to your chest, as far as possible.
  3. Repeat 10 or more times on each side.

Stretching the muscles in your back (lying down)

  1. Lie down on a flat surface. Your legs should be straight in front of you, a little apart.
  2. Gently pull your knees to your chest, as far as possible.
  3. Place your hands around the knees and pull them towards your chest, until you feel a stretch in your lower back and buttocks.
  4. Hold for around 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 to 10 times at first.

Exercises to give your hip joint more mobility

Hip abduction (lying down)

  1. Lie down on your back. Your legs should be straight in front of you, a little apart. Your knees and toes should be facing up.
  2. Slowly move one leg to the side, as if it is a clock hand.
  3. Move your leg only to the point where it does not easily move any further. Your hip should be pain free.
  4. Then, slowly bring your leg back to rest next to your other leg.
  5. Repeat 10 or more times on each side.

Hip abduction (lying down on your side)

  1. Lie down on your side. Your legs should be straight lying on each other. Your knees and toes should be facing to the side.
  2. Separate your legs and move your top leg away from the floor towards the ceiling.
  3. Move your leg only to the point where it does not easily move any further. Your hip should be pain free.
  4. Then, slowly bring your leg back to rest next to your other leg.
  5. Repeat 10 or more times on each side.

Hip abduction (standing)

  1. Begin by standing on both feet. For balance, hold onto a chair, table, or the wall with the other hand.
  2. Lift one foot, then slowly move your leg to the side. Your knee and leg should be straight.
  3. Slowly move your leg to the side, as if it is a clock hand.
  4. Move your leg only to the point where it does not easily move any further. Your hip should be pain free.
  5. Then slowly bring your leg back to rest next to your other leg.
  6. Repeat 10 or more times on each side.

Hip range of motion (external rotation) (lying down)

  1. Lie down on your back. Your legs should be straight in front of you, a little apart. Your knees and toes should be facing up.
  2. Bend one of your knees so the foot is flat on the floor, then slowly allow the knee to fall to the outside.
  3. Move your leg only to the point where it does not easily move further. Your hip should be pain free.
  4. Then slowly bring your leg back to rest next to your other knee.
  5. Repeat 10 or more times on each side.

Leg swings or hip extension (standing)

  1. Begin by standing on both feet. For balance, hold onto a chair, table, or the wall with the other hand.
  2. Lift one foot, then slowly move your leg to the back. Your knee and leg should be straight.
  3. After holding your leg in this position for several seconds, place both feet together again on the ground.
  4. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times with each leg.

Exercises to help make your muscles stronger

Straight leg raises

  1. Lie down on your back. One of your legs should be straight. The other leg should be bent at the knee so the foot is flat on the floor.
  2. Lift the leg that is straight about halfway up (around a 45-degree angle). Your knee and toes on this leg should be facing towards the ceiling.
  3. Move slowly and try to keep the muscles in your back relaxed.
  4. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times for each leg.

Exercise for hip flexors

  1. Begin by standing on both feet. If needed, hold onto a chair, table, or the wall with the other hand.
  2. Slowly lift your knee as high as you can. Tighten the muscles in the front of your hip as you raise your leg. Try to keep your back straight.
  3. Keep your leg up for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly move it back down.
  4. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times for each leg.

Wall slide

  1. Begin by standing with your back to the wall and your legs straight. Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
  2. Begin to slowly bend your knees as your back slowly slides down the wall.
  3. Slide down onto your knees until they are bent at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds, then slowly slide back up the wall.
  5. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Single leg balancing exercise

  1. Stand with both feet slightly apart.
  2. Slowly lift one knee to about a 90-degree angle.
  3. At first, you will need to hold onto a chair or table with one or both hands.
  4. Balance on the other leg for at least 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times for each leg.
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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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