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5 Stretches That Can Help Mitigate Hip Pain

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the human body. It is formed by the head of the femur (thigh bone) fitting into the acetabulum of the pelvis, enabling a wide range of motion to the legs while bearing the weight of the upper body. 

Due to its extensive use and weight-bearing capacity, the hip joint is frequently affected by pain due to injuries and other medical conditions. To relieve hip pain, incorporating regular stretching exercises into your daily routine can have significant benefits, particularly in terms of strengthening and enhancing the mobility of your hips. 

Read below for more information on hip stretches and exercises you can easily perform at home.

What Causes Hip Injuries?

Hip injuries are one of the leading causes of hip pain in adults. They refer to damage or trauma in the joint or its surrounding structures, causing hip pain to develop. The following are some of the most common causes of hip injuries:

  • Falls: Falls are the most common cause of hip injuries, especially in older adults, with more than 95% of hip fractures caused by falls. The force of the fall can result in a hip fracture or dislocation. The risk of a hip injury from a fall increases with age because bones weaken, making them more susceptible to fractures.
  • Overuse: Repetitive activities, such as running, can cause stress fractures in the hip joint. Soft tissue injuries such as tendinitis and bursitis can also occur due to overuse. These injuries are common in athletes and people who engage in repetitive activities.
  • Sports Injuries: High-impact sports or activities that require sudden changes of direction can cause acute hip injuries. These injuries include strains, sprains, and labral tears, accounting for about 5-6% of all sports injuries. Sports such as football, soccer, and basketball are typical examples of high-risk sports for hip injuries.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: High-force trauma from a car accident can result in severe hip injuries like fractures or dislocations. The impact of the collision can lead to significant damage to the hip joint and surrounding tissues.
  • Inadequate Warm-Up/Poor Flexibility: Engaging in physical activities without proper preparation may result in strains or other soft tissue injuries. A proper warm-up routine that includes stretching can help prevent hip injuries due to poor flexibility.
  • Congenital Hip Disorders: Congenital hip disorders are conditions present at birth that affect the development of the hip joint. Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a common congenital hip disorder that leads to instability and an increased risk of injury. Children with DDH may require treatment to prevent hip injuries later in life.

Hip Stretches to Alleviate Hip Pain

The main issue causing hip pain can be identified depending on the location of the pain. For instance, pain inside the hip or groin area is usually related to problems with the hip joint itself. Meanwhile, pain in the outer buttock, upper thigh, or outside the hip may be related to issues with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues surrounding the hip joint.

Incorporating stretching exercises into your daily routine can significantly improve your overall flexibility and reduce the risk of injury during physical activity. They can also help alleviate hip pain by mobilizing the joint, increasing blood flow, and strengthening and relaxing the surrounding muscles. 

Here are five different stretches that target specific areas of your body, which can be beneficial for everyone, regardless of your age or fitness level:

Hip Flexor Stretch

This stretch targets the hip flexors located in the front of your hip. It is beneficial for people who spend a lot of time sitting or have a sedentary lifestyle. 

  • Start by kneeling on the ground with one foot forward and the knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Shift your weight forward while maintaining a straight back until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip on the side with the leg extended.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks and can cause discomfort if it becomes tight. This stretching exercise can help relieve pain and tension in the glutes and lower back. 

  • Sit on the floor with one leg straight and the other crossed over, placing the foot on the outside of the opposite knee.
  • Hug your bent knee and twist your torso toward the bent knee until you feel a stretch in the buttocks.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Seated Hip Stretch

This stretching exercise targets the outer hips and glutes, which can be particularly helpful for runners and cyclists. 

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, placing the foot flat on the floor.
  • Gently lean forward while keeping your back straight until you feel a stretch in the outer hip of the crossed leg.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly Stretch is a helpful stretching exercise that can be particularly beneficial in relieving tightness in the inner thighs and groin muscles due to prolonged sitting or inactivity. 

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together.
  • Hold your feet with your hands and gently press your knees toward the floor. You should feel a stretch in the inner thighs and groin area.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Figure Four Stretch

The Figure Four Stretch targets the glutes and outer hip. This is particularly helpful for people who spend long hours sitting at a desk or driving. 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, forming a "figure four" shape.
  • Reach through the opening and pull the bottom knee toward your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Seek Personalized Hip Pain Treatment at the American Hip Institute

Hip stretching exercises can help alleviate pain by improving blood circulation and relaxing the surrounding muscles. However, chronic pain requires addressing the underlying cause to manage hip pain effectively.

Consult the experts at the American Hip Institute for a personalized hip pain treatment plan that addresses the leading cause of your pain. We offer minimally invasive treatment solutions that aim to restore mobility in your hips and improve your quality of life.

Schedule an appointment today by calling us at (833) 872-4477 or filling out our online form

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