5 Exercises To Treat Your Own Hip Pain (& Avoid Going Under The Knife)
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Before surgery becomes the only option, try these 5 exercises for hip arthritis to strengthen your hips, keeping them happy and healthy!
Written by: Coach Todd
Pain is a funny thing. It’s like a smoke alarm, constantly detecting when something is wrong. When our bodies “smell smoke” it alerts us through pain signals… telling us where the fire is. However, when it comes to chronic pain signals, putting out the fire isn’t enough. Acute injuries, such as a labral tear or fracture, are like a grease fire — easily and quickly put out with the right tools. In this case surgery. However, chronic hip joint pain from overuse is more akin to a forest fire. If gone untreated for too long, it can take on a life of its own. Now, hip pain differs between individuals (especially between men and women), but the fix is the same. In fact, using the following movements, you can not only put the flames out before they get too big but restore proper hip function as well! If you can keep your hips healthy and happy, you can reduce pain, prevent further injury, and decrease your chances of needing surgery.
The Worst Exercises for Hip Pain
First things first, we must understand the common causes of hip pain. In general, there are a few exercises in particular that can cause pain in our hips, and if so, it may be best to avoid them.
Exercises to Reduce Hip Pain from Hip Arthritis
While there are a few movements you should aim to avoid if possible, there are many you can do to help! With nothing but a towel, you can perform your very own at-home hip pain treatment without surgery.
Follow along below:
Towel Squeeze with Pulses
Lay on your back with your knees bent and a rolled towel between them. Squeeze into the towel and then pulse twice. With the pulses, squeeze harder than you think you can — “think squeeze, squeeze” before relaxing. Repeat this exercise 5 times.This movement works the internal rotators of the hips, strengthening the muscles known as our Adductors. Oftentimes, chronic injuries occur when there is an imbalance between the muscles that draw our legs in (Adductors) and the muscles that draw our legs out (Abductors).
Towel Press with Pulses
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Wrap a towel around the outside of your thighs. With both legs, press outwards into the towel twice. Use the same technique as the previous exercise, “thinking press, press” before relaxing. Repeat this exercise 5 times.This movement works the external rotators of the hips, strengthening the muscles known as our Abductors. These movements create more balance between the two muscle groups, mitigating the risk of injuries caused by imbalances.
Mini Hip Thrusts
Lay on your back with your knees bent (similar to exercise #1 — this time without the towel). Begin by drawing your belly button towards your spine and flattening your lower back into the bed. Squeeze your bottom, driving your heels into the ground, allowing your hips to slightly lift up in a “thrusting” motion. Lower back down, pressing your back into the bed.Repeat this exercise 10 times. Our hips move in many directions. Not only do they shift our legs left and right, but forward and backward as well. Strengthening our gluteal muscles (a.k.a butt muscles) helps strengthen the hips and ensure their proper functioning… in all directions.
Standing Side Hip Lifts
Stand tall with one hand placed on a bed or chair. Balance on your left leg, keeping a soft bend in your knee to keep from locking out. Leading with your heel, lift your right leg out to the side. Be sure not to lean to the left. Repeat 5 times per leg.Your hips must also be able to work independently of each other without overcompensating for any weakness. This movement not only improves your balance, but also the ability to strengthening your hips unilaterally — in both an internal and external rotation.
Mini Wall Sit
Place your back against the wall and walk your feet out about 24 inches. Slide down a few inches into a “mini” squat (about ¼ of a normal squat). Squeeze your bottom twice using the same technique as the first two exercises — “think squeeze, squeeze” before sliding back up. Repeat this exercise 5 times.Being able to move in multiple directions all at once is vital for keeping healthy hips. This movement drives the hips in an external and forward direction (just as exercise #4 moved them internally and outward). The added bottom “pulse” helps to strengthen the glute muscles and others surrounding each hip joint.Try incorporating these movements into your daily routine to strengthen those hips while introducing new ranges of motions to increase functionality. It may take a few weeks to see any progress, but soon you’ll notice less pain and better mobility!