An image of Kineon's Move+Pro put in the hip to alleviate hip pain.

Handling Hip Pain and Mobility Problems with 7 Exercises

There’s nothing worse than feeling that recurring twinge in your hip - the one that prevents you from carrying out certain actions and daily activities because of the worry or pain.

The hip joint overwhelmingly contributes to our overall movement as humans, with walking, standing, and even sitting being a result of the joint working as it should be.

When this strikes, or if you’re recovering from hip surgery and have been told to start with light activity, increasing your range of motion through stretching and exercising can bring numerous benefits.

So, if you’re looking for exercises for hip pain that can bring back flexibility, strength and endurance, we’ve got you covered with seven of the best!

What causes hip pain?

Unfortunately, the question about what causes hip pain usually warrants the ‘how long is a piece of string’ answer.

There’s a wide range of medical conditions which can cause hip pain, but your daily lifestyle could be a major irritant too!

  • Leading a sedentary life, with a lack of physical activity, has a heightened risk of inflammation in your hips.
  • Sitting for long periods can cause your hip flexors to shorten and tighten.
  • Eating large amounts of unhealthy fats can contribute to inflammation in the body which can increase the risk for or worsen hip pain too.

Or overuse of the hip can cause stress fractures, impingements, and muscle strains.

And conditions can strike your hips too - like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which is one of the most common causes of hip pain, especially amongst older adults.


The Anatomy of the Hip


While there’s a wide variety of causes for general hip pain, narrowing it down to a specific area can help unlock the secrets.

But, we must first understand the infamous hip joint…

The hip contains a ball-and-socket joint which connects the femur (thigh bone) to the pelvis. It provides stability, support and a wide range of motion to the body.

The joint capsule is reinforced by ligaments, including the iliofemoral, pubofemoral, and ischiofemoral. This further allows the ability to move fully - aiding flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

When you’re running, walking or even sitting, the hip joint plays a significant role in allowing this to happen!


Areas of the Hip and the Associated Pain and Causes


If you feel pain in the groin, the most common causes include hip joint osteoarthritis, labral tear, hip impingement, adductor muscle strains, or a sports hernia.

If your pain is most felt in the outer hip, this could be due to trochanteric bursitis, iliotibial band syndrome, gluteal muscle strain, hip abductor tendonitis, or greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

Feeling pain in the butt? This could be piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, ischial bursitis, or due to a hamstring injury.

If the pain is sitting at the front of the hip, you may have a hip flexor strain, iliopsoas tendonitis, hip labral tear, hip joint arthritis, or hip impingement.

Is the pain felt deep within your hip? This could be hip joint arthritis, labral tears, bursitis, tendonitis, or a bone tumor (rare).

If it’s at the back of your hip, this may be piriformis syndrome, sciatica, gluteal muscle strain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or ischial bursitis.

Or if it’s central, this could be hip joint arthritis, labral tear, bursitis, tendonitis, or hip impingement.


The Importance of Exercises for Hip Pain


Whether you’ve recently suffered a hip problem, you’re on a post-surgery exercise plan, or the pain from sitting down in an office job is taking its toll, exercise could eventually bring back the mobility you’ve been missing.

When the exercises are targeted and beneficial to those with hip pain, they can improve your strength, flexibility, and pain.

If you’re dealing with ongoing symptoms and aren’t stretching or exercising the area (if you’re able to), neglecting these muscles can potentially lead to further weakness, joint stiffness, impaired blood circulation, a loss of independence, and a negative impact on your mental health.

This is why it’s important to strike a balance between the necessary rest for your body and appropriate physical activity.


The Best Exercises for Strengthening the Hip


Exercises for hip pain can do the world of good, but should only be completed when and if your medical professional says you’re able to do so. They’ll be able to provide guidance on the most appropriate exercises for hip pain and your specific situation.

Many of these are low-impact, making them suitable for when hip pain or discomfort is prevalent.

Remember to keep focused on engaging your core muscles throughout each exercise and avoid any sudden or jerky motions.

Knee Lifts

An image of a man doing Knee Lifts.

Image Source: Coast Performance Rehab

This exercise simply requires enough space for you to lay down or stand - no fancy equipment here, just floor space!

Here are the five steps to achieve the knee lift exercise:

  1. Find a comfortable place on the floor (a yoga mat or carpet would be best) and lie on your back.
  2. Stretch your legs out and keep your arms by your side, with your palms facing down.
  3. Bend one knee and bring your leg toward your chest.
  4. Hold the position for 8-12 seconds (you should feel the stretch in your hip flexors!)
  5. Slowly lower your leg back down and repeat the same movement with your other leg.
Alternate between your right and left leg, performing around 10-15 repetitions.

Lying down should feel more gentle on your lower back and can be a really effective way to target the hip flexors. You can do the exercise standing up though if you prefer.

Benefits of knee lifts for hip pain: This exercise focuses on strengthening the hip flexors while improving hip joint stability.


Leg Raises

 An image of a woman doing leg raises.

Image Source: Hinge Health

Leg raises can be done lying on the floor too, so grab your yoga mat and remember to keep your lower back pressed into the floor to avoid arching.

If you find this challenging, you can place your hands under your hips for added support.

Here are the 6 steps to do leg raises the right way:

  1. Lie down on your back on a flat surface.
  2. Keep your legs fully extended and your arms by your sides, with palms facing down.
  3. Slowly lift one of your legs off the floor, keeping it straight in the process.
  4. Aim to bring your leg perpendicular to the ground or as high as you comfortably can.
  5. Hold the lifted position for 8 - 12 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back to the ground.
  6. Repeat the movement with the other leg.

You should inhale when lifting your leg and exhale as you lower it.

Benefits of leg raises for hip pain: Again, the leg raises target the hip flexors and improve hip joint stability. They also engage the abdominal muscles when the leg is being raised which promotes core strength. This can indirectly support the hips. Flexibility can be increased too.


Seated Marching


A man doing seat marches.

Image Source: Hinge Health

For this exercise, you just need a sturdy chair and some time to focus on this gentle activity.

Throughout the motions, keep your back straight against the chair and your shoulders relaxed.

Jerking or sudden movements can cause strain on the hips and back so keep everything as controlled as possible.

If you’re looking to modify the exercise, to make it easier, then use your hands for support by holding onto the sides of the chair.

Here are the 6 steps to successfully do seated marches:

  1. Sit on a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands on your legs or at the side of the chair.
  3. Lift one of your knees towards your chest, bringing it as high as you can.
  4. Slowly lower your foot back to the floor.
  5. Repeat the same movement with your other leg.
  6. You should alternate between your legs and carry out these motions 10-15 times.

Benefits of seated marching for hip pain: This exercise will target the hip flexors without putting excessive strain on the joints. It will promote a wider range of motion too and can be suitable for people with various fitness levels.

As always, if you’re feeling any major discomfort and pain, you should consult with your healthcare professional or a physical therapist. If you have any concerns about what’s right for you, they’ll be able to speak specifically about your personal circumstances.


Hip Circles

An animated imagwe of a woman doing hip circles.

Image Source: WorkoutLabs

Hip circles require no equipment, just you and your hips! Here are the 4 steps to follow:

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart.
  2. Put your hands on your hips and let your arms hang naturally to your sides.
  3. Start by moving your hips in a circular motion, as though you’re drawing a circle.
  4. Push your hips forward, move them to one side, back, and then to the other, completing the circle.

Once you’ve completed the circle in one direction, switch to the opposite way. Aim to complete these motions between 10-15 times.

Keep your core stabilized throughout the circles and keep them controlled and smooth. If standing isn’t possible, you can do the exercise on a chair or stability ball if needed.

Benefits of hip circles for hip pain: Hip circles can help with joint flexibility and reduce stiffness. It’s a low-impact exercise which can get your hips moving in an easy and natural way. They engage the various muscles around the hips which should assist with stability.



An image of a woman doing glute bridges.

Image Source: Vision Quest

Although the glute bridge exercise predominately targets the butt area, it does a great job at stretching out the hip flexors too.

In fact, your glutes can play a big role when it comes to hip pain. If you work long hours sitting down, and you end up slouching, your tight hip flexors end up pulling you forward and your glutes won’t be strong enough to pull you back upright.

To get started with this versatile exercise for hip pain, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Lie down on your back on a comfortable surface and bend your knees.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
  3. Engage your core muscles and then press through your heels to lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  4. Keep your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line - forming a ‘bridge’ position.
  5. Hold this for 8-12 seconds before lowering your hips back down to the starting position with control.

To help you in this exercise, focus on lifting your hips by engaging your glutes and hamstrings rather than arching your lower back. Your neck and shoulders relaxed during the exercise.

Benefits of glute bridges for hip pain: The bridge targets the posterior chain muscles, including the glutes and hamstrings, which can contribute to improved hip stability. It engages the core muscles too, promoting overall trunk stability.


Butterfly Stretch

An image of a woman doing butterfly stretch.

Image Source: verywellfit

Otherwise known as the ‘butterfly pose,’ the butterfly stretch is a seated activity which is used from kindergarten age to retirees.

Here’s how to do the butterfly stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor with a straight spine and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
  2. Your knees should fall outward, creating a diamond shape with your legs.
  3. Hold onto your feet or ankles with your hands and gently press your knees toward the floor using your elbows.
  4. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, or longer if comfortable.
  5. Repeat the stretch for 2-3 reps, gradually increasing the duration as your flexibility grows.

You should only press your knees as far down as feels best, not to the point where you feel discomfort or strain.

Benefits of the butterfly stretch for hip pain: Although this position primarily targets the inner thighs, it’s an excellent stretch for improving mobility in the hip joint.


Ankle Grab

An image of a woman doing ankle grab exercise.

Image Source: Skimble

The ankle grab is another that targets several areas of the body - like the hamstrings and back - but it indirectly stretches the hip flexors too.

Here’s how to do the ankle grab:

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat against the floor.
  2. Reach side to side towards your ankles.
  3. Hold onto one ankle at a time, before heading in the other direction.
  4. Keep your back straight and hinge at the hips between the two.
  5. You should avoid rounding your back out and instead try and maintain a straight spine.

Benefits of the ankle grab for hip pain: As you’re moving back and forth, there’ll be greater mobility and stretch in your hip flexors. It will stretch the lower back and hamstrings in the process too which can help with overall posture and alleviation of any lower back tension.


Incorporate red light therapy

Do you know about the holistic healing of red light therapy?

Used by medical professionals, athletes, and everyone in between, red light therapy is beneficial for:
  • Reducing inflammation and joint pain by increasing blood flow, promoting cellular repair, and reducing oxidative stress in the affected tissues

  • Supporting the recovery of damaged blood vessels and cartilage by increasing cellular energy production and promoting collagen synthesis
  • Speeding up recovery as it triggers energy production, leading to improved cellular metabolism

As it’s non-invasive and gentle, it can be used at your own leisure - allowing you to take control of your pain management. This means you can wave goodbye to the stressful commutes to the doctor’s office.

Instead, use an at-home device (like Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro) and reap the benefits of targeted relief to your hip area.

Join the thousands of people who have used the MOVE+ Pro to radically relieve their hip pain symptoms. We even have a 30 day at-home trial, so you can see how the device will work for you.


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About Kineon

Bringing the latest advancements in enhanced red light therapy for home use. Our mission is to get you back on your feet and moving pain-free.

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