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Get Hip to Beat Bursitis: 9 Power Moves and Stretches!

Hip Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Exercises for Hip Bursitis

Hip pain is a common musculoskeletal problem that affects many individuals. A review paper titled “Chronic Hip Pain in Adults: Current Knowledge and Future Prospective” states that approximately 10% of the general population experiences hip pain, with this number increasing with age. During a six-week study, 14.3% of adults reported experiencing noticeable hip pain on most days. While there are various causes of hip pain, my experience as a personal trainer has shown that hip bursitis is one of the top three culprits. In this article, I will discuss exercises, stretches, and coping mechanisms to help treat hip bursitis and strengthen your hips.

Hip bursitis occurs when the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac, becomes inflamed. Our bodies have more than 150 bursae, which act as protective cushions, reducing friction between bones, tendons, and muscles during movement. When bursitis occurs, the bursa loses its lubricating function. In the case of hip bursitis, two major hip bursae are typically affected: the trochanteric bursa and the iliopsoas bursa. The main location of pain is usually on the outer side of the hip, indicating inflammation of the trochanteric bursa. Pain in the groin region may indicate inflammation of the largest bursa in the body, the iliopsoas bursa. However, it is important to note that groin pain can also stem from other issues such as adductor strain or hernia.

To effectively treat hip bursitis, it is crucial to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint. The following nine exercises should be incorporated into your workout routine for a swift and successful recovery:

1. Side-Lying Straight Leg Raise: This exercise targets the gluteus medius, one of the three gluteal muscles and abductors. Strengthening these outer hip muscles can reduce strain on the bursa. Lie on your side with your legs straight and aligned. Lift the top leg toward the ceiling while keeping it straight. Hold for a few seconds, then lower it back down.

2. Hip Abduction: Once the abductors have been strengthened with less strenuous exercises and the pain has subsided, introduce the hip abduction machine. Adjust the machine, sit with your back against the backrest, and place the outside of your thighs against the machine’s pads. Push your thighs outward against the resistance, opening your legs as far as possible, then slowly return to the starting position.

3. Clamshell: This exercise activates all muscles in the hip region, including deep muscles, without causing pain to return or intensify. Lie on your side and bend your knees. Keeping your feet together, open the top knee like a clamshell, lifting it toward the ceiling. Hold for a moment and return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides.

4. Side-Lying Adduction: Strengthening the adductors is crucial for individuals with iliopsoas bursa issues, but it is also beneficial for those with trochanteric bursa inflammation. Lie on your side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent. Lift the bottom leg upwards while keeping it straight. Hold for a moment, then slowly lower it back down.

5. Glute Bridge: Activating the posterior chain, which includes the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, is essential for everyone, regardless of whether they have hip bursitis. The glute bridge is an excellent exercise for the posterior chain and also improves hip stability. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips upwards as high as possible by contracting your glutes. Hold for a second, then lower back down.

6. Fire Hydrant: Weak hip flexors, rotators, and abductors can lead to poor hip mobility and control. The fire hydrant exercise targets these muscles, improving lateral strength and mobility. Start on all fours in a tabletop position. Lift one knee outward to the side, keeping the hips square. Hold before returning the leg to the starting position. Repeat on each side.

7. Wall Squat: Compound movements are effective, but they can be tiring and unsuitable during recovery. The wall squat is a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the hip muscles. Stand with your back against a wall and lower into a squat position, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Hold for as long as comfortable before standing back up.

8. Hip Flexor Stretch: Stretching the hip flexors can help alleviate hip pain. Kneel on one knee with the other leg bent at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Lean forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

9. Piriformis Stretch: The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks and can contribute to hip pain if tight or inflamed. Lie on your back with both knees bent. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, then gently pull the uncrossed leg towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

In addition to these exercises, there are several ways to cope with hip bursitis pain while waiting for the situation to improve. Applying ice or heat to the affected area, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and avoiding activities that worsen the pain can provide temporary relief. It is also important to maintain good posture, avoid prolonged sitting or standing, and wear supportive shoes.

In conclusion, hip bursitis is a common cause of hip pain that can be effectively treated through exercises and stretches that strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine and following the coping mechanisms, you can alleviate pain, improve hip stability, and promote a swift recovery. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you are experiencing severe or persistent pain.

Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn, the founder of "The Body Builder" and formerly Body Guider, isn't just a business owner – he embodies the spirit of holistic fitness. With a degree in sports nutrition, Stan blends academic knowledge with practical expertise, ensuring that his gym members receive not just physical training but also nutritional guidance tailored to their unique needs. Over the years, Stan's passion for fitness has extended beyond the gym's walls. As a fervent sports enthusiast, he understands the intricacies of athletic performance and is dedicated to helping both amateur athletes and fitness novices achieve their goals. Under his leadership, "The Body Builder" has grown from a mere gym to a comprehensive fitness hub where every member feels empowered, educated, and inspired. Stan's commitment to excellence, combined with his in-depth understanding of sports nutrition, makes him a revered figure in the fitness community.
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