Easy Stretches To Help Relieve Hip Pain

Easy Stretches To Help Relieve Hip Pain

If you keep your hip joints strong and limber, you can improve mobility, range of motion, and alleviate pain. Hip pain involves any pain that is in or around the hip joint. You may feel pain in the groin, thigh, or knee, depending on the severity of your hip pain and how it started. Engaging in hip stretches can benefit your situation, no matter how hip pain started. That said, if your hip pain stems from a severe injury, consult a physical therapist before experimenting with moves on your own. Certain movements may hinder your recovery.

Although hip pain can stem from an injury or arthritis, sitting for extended periods of time can strain the hip flexors. The reason for this is because excessive sitting relaxes and deactivates the muscles, which essentially shuts them off. That causes the hip flexors to shorten, resulting in tightness and pain. You typically feel the pain along the front of the hip, where it meets your thigh. Depending on the severity of the pain, you may experience: 

  • Cramping and sharp pain
  • Mild pain or pulling on the front of the hip
  • Difficulty getting out of a chair, or up from a squat
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Severe pain, spasms, or swelling at the top of the thigh

Sitting also puts pressure on the discs in the lower back, which can cause pain that radiates to the front of the hips. Add lack of movement into the equation and you will experience stiffness and discomfort in the hip joint. To alleviate that pain, engage in the following stretches. 

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings attach to the pelvis behind your hips. These muscles help you bend your knees and extend your hips. If you have tight hamstrings, you may experience tightness in the back of your hips, which can limit mobility. To stretch the hamstrings, sit up straight with both legs extended out straight. Bend your right knee and then let it fall out to the side, placing the sole of your foot along your left inner thigh. Angle your chest towards your left leg and lean forward, hinging at the hips to maintain a straight back. Only lean until you feel a stretch, placing your hands on either side of your left leg for support. Hold for 60 seconds and then repeat on the other leg. 

Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretch

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that runs on the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee. If you go to the gym, you probably see people foam rolling this area of the leg. It doesn’t contract, but it attaches to muscles that do, and IT band pain can be felt in the lateral hip. To stretch the IT band, lie on your right side and keep your right knee bent for stability. Reach back, bend your left leg, and grab your left ankle. You should feel a stretch along your left thigh. While keeping your right leg bent, gently place the right foot on the top of your left knee. Use your right foot to pull your left down toward the floor. This should stretch the IT band. Hold for 60 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

Hip Flexor Stretch

The hip flexors are muscles located along the front of the hip and thigh. People who sit a lot, or those with arthritis, will feel tightness in these muscles. To begin, enter a lunge position, stepping your left foot forward and placing  your right knee on the ground behind you. Keep your back straight and engage your core for stability. Squeeze your right glute as you lean forward until you feel a stretch along your right hip flexor. Hold this position for 60 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

Figure Four Stretch

Also known as the piriformis stretch, the figure four targets the piriformis muscle, located in the posterior hip. This muscle resides deep near the sciatic nerve and can tighten if you have hip pain that stems from sciatica. To stretch the piriformis, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet planted flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left bent, resting your ankle just above the knee. Let your right knee fall out to the side and reach to grab behind your left hamstring. Pull your left leg toward you until you feel a stretch in the back of your right hip near your buttocks. Hold for 60 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.

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