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Article by Infofit

Reducing Hip Pain – An Exercise Rehab Program

Hip pain is common, and it can be initiated by many different problems.

Is Pain Affecting Your Daily Life?

Hip pain can come and go quickly without affecting any of your activities. As long as it isn’t coming at regular intervals or for extended periods, it shouldn’t be anything that is alarming. However, when you experience hip pain for extended periods of time and the pain is affecting your daily life, then it is best to consult a health professional. Check with your certified personal trainer and they can refer you to a physiotherapist so they can plan an appropriate exercise prescription together.

Hip pain is common, with young and old alike, and it can be initiated by many different problems. The exact point of pain can provide valuable information about the primary cause.

Pinpointing Can Help with Diagnosis

Generally speaking, if you are experiencing pain inside of the hip or the groin, the problem will be the hip joint itself. Whereas hip pain in the area surrounding the outside of the hip, outer buttock or upper thigh will be caused by muscles, tendons or ligaments. Occasionally you will also get referral pain in the hip that is from the lower back.

Common Causes of Hip Pain

Arthritis is a common cause of hip pain which includes; Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Septic arthritis. Other reasons for pain include injuries to the joint such as Bursitis, Dislocation, Fracture, Labral tear, Inguinal hernia, Tendinitis or Pinched nerves.

There are also many uncommon causes of hip pain which need to be attended by a physician. These would include Meralgia Paresthetica, Sacroiliitis, Sciatica, Cancer or Osteoporosis amongst other bone diseases.

See a Health Professional for an Exercise Prescription

Depending on the particular reason for your pain, exercise plans can be more or less effective for your specific pain. It is always best to book with a Certified Personal Trainer or a Kinesiologist so they can refer you to a physiotherapist within their referral network. The network can then come up with a definite plan with unified modifications to keep you successfully moving forward.

Initial Self Care Home Plan

  • Rest is always the first place to start, or in other words, if it hurts, stop!
  • Avoid bending over from the hip repeatedly, instead, try bending the knees.
  • Avoid putting direct pressure on the hip, move every 30 minutes and do not sleep on the side that is affected.
  • Heat and Ice. Apply cold treatments to your hip with a gel pack or bag of peas wrapped in a towel. Before stretching for pain reduction, take a warm bath or shower, which may help relax your muscles and therefore reduce pain.
  • There are many anti-inflammatories, pain killers and muscle relaxants available at the pharmacy. Discuss an over the counter painkiller with your pharmacist as they will be able to establish which one is appropriate.
  • Daily rehabilitation exercises and stretching

In the event, the self-care treatments don’t help or if your pain starts to increase, make an appointment with your doctor.

Rehabilitation Exercises


Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Gently flatten you back on the floor then slowly curl your bottom off the floor, lifting one vertebrae at a time while pushing through your feet. Continue to press the hips up until your knee, hip and shoulder are in a straight line. Tighten your glute muscles as you lift ensuring you don’t arch the back in the top of the movement. Hold for 2 – 5 seconds and slowly return to the original position. Do 5 – 10 repetitions for 2 sets.

Prone Hip Extensions

Start by lying on your stomach with the legs straight with your hands, or a folded towel, supporting your forehead and face off of the floor. Keep your leg straight from the ankle to hip, slowly lift your leg while tightening your glute muscles. Hold for 2 – 5 seconds and slowly return to the original position and repeat on the same leg for a full set then switch to the other leg. Do 5 – 10 repetitions for 2 sets on each leg.

Supine Adductor Ball Squeeze

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a soft ball between your knees. Keep your spine neutral and slowly squeeze the ball between the knees using the adductors. Squeeze for 2 – 5 seconds and repeat 10 times for 2 sets.


Lie on your side with the arm or a towel under the head to help support your neck. Bend hips to about 45 degrees and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Make sure your hips and legs are stacked one on top of the other. Lift the top leg up while pivoting your feet but keep the sides of the feet together. Exhale as you lift your leg and inhale bring the leg down to the starting position. Do 5- 10 repetitions each leg for 2 sets.

Single Leg Squat on Step

Use a stair or a step, stand on it sideways on one foot. Start with the standing leg straight, and the pelvic floor muscles engaged. Hang the other leg off the edge of the step. Bend the standing leg slightly and slowly lower the leg that is hanging towards the ground allow the pelvis to slowly drop down. Do not let the foot touch the ground. When the leg is as low as it can without touching the ground, hold the position for 2 seconds, keeping the core tight. Raise the hip up as you straighten the knee and raise the foot back up. Stop when the pelvis is level. Do 10 – 12 reps on each side of 2 – 3 sets, add a light dumbbell or tube to increase the resistance.

Butterfly Stretch

Sit tall on your sitting bones with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees flopped to the sides as far as they will comfortably go. Tighten the pelvic floor muscles and lean forward from your hips with a straight back. Grasp your feet with your hands and carefully pull yourself forward. The stretch should be felt in your inner thighs, the outer hips, and your lower back. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds for 1 repetition.