Stretches for Hip Arthritis

April 23, 2024

hip stretches

Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition many people get as they age. It often presents as pain and stiffness surrounding the hip, specifically wrapping around the groin. The good news is that a diagnosis of hip OA does not mean the end of mobility.

While avoiding certain foods can alleviate inflammation and discomfort, research shows that gently stretching the muscles surrounding the hip can keep an arthritic joint working healthier for longer.

Trinity Grasso, DPT, a licensed physical therapist at Orlin & Cohen, explains seven stretches to ease pain and improve hip function. Whether performed seated, lying down, or standing, these exercises can play a pivotal role in managing hip OA – empowering individuals to lead more active, fulfilling lives.

The stretches below should be completed two to three times per day and held for 20 to 30 seconds, progressing up to 60 seconds as your endurance builds. As you ease into the stretch, go until you feel gentle tension but never pain. Be sure to repeat stretches on your left and right sides to keep each hip healthy.

Seated Hip Stretches

Seated hip stretches are gentle and provide stability and support, making them a safe option for those who experience pain when standing or moving. These exercises can help reduce stiffness and increase range of motion.

Seated hamstring stretch

Sit on the front edge of a chair and rest one heel on the floor in front of you. Keep your knee straight and gently lean forward until you feel a stretch behind your knee or thigh. Always maintain a straight spine and hinge forward through your hips.

Seated hip adductor stretch

Sitting on the front edge of a chair, bring your knees as far apart as possible. Ensure that both feet are firmly on the ground, facing outward. Place your hands on your thighs and slowly bring your chest toward the floor until you feel a gentle stretch on the inside of your thighs.

Seated piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle, which runs from your lower spine to your thigh, can cause hip pain by compressing or irritating the sciatic nerve. To stretch it, sit on the edge of a chair and place your foot on top of the opposite leg in front of you. Slowly hinge forward at the hips, keeping your upper back straight. Always maintain good posture and keep your shoulders back. Relax your arms next to the side of your body or on your leg.

Avoid using your hands to push down on the knee, as this will constrict the piriformis instead of stretching it. Just hinge forward at the hips, and you will feel the stretch in the hips and buttocks.

Standing Hip Stretches

Standing hip stretches are an excellent way to target the key muscles and ligaments surrounding the hip joint. They can be done anywhere, at any time, and require no special equipment.

Standing hip flexor stretch

Start by standing with one foot a few steps behind the other foot. Keep your front knee bent and your back knee straight. Use a chair or a tall, solid surface for support if needed. Shift your hips forward gently while maintaining an upright posture and keeping both feet firmly on the ground. You should feel a stretch in the upper thigh of your back leg. If necessary, adjust the position of your back leg, moving it further back to get a deeper stretch.

Standing quad stretch

For this stretch, stand near a wall for support if needed. Then, bend your knee, bringing your foot toward your buttocks so you can hold your ankle in your hand. To deepen the stretch, pull your foot toward your buttocks (or as close as you can), ensuring a straight line from your knee through your hip to your shoulder. Tighten your abs to flatten your lower back, and keep your knees together rather than allowing your bent leg to move outward.

Supine Hip Flexor Stretches

This targeted stretching regimen alleviates discomfort and enhances flexibility in the hip joint. The beauty of these exercises lies in their accessibility — they can be conveniently performed right in the comfort of one’s bed.

Hamstring stretch with strap

Lie on your back and bend one knee with your foot flat on the bed to support your lower back. With your other leg entirely straight, use a strap, sheet, or towel to wrap around your foot – helping to lift your leg and stretch it. Keep your outstretched leg straight the entire time and raise it until you feel a gentle tug in the back of your hamstring. If your knee starts to bend, you have gone too far.

Modified Thomas stretch

Lie on your back with one leg hanging off the bed. Loop a band or belt around the ankle of the hanging leg and wrap it around your shoulder on the same side. Gently pull the strap toward your shoulder until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip and thigh. Ensure your lower back is flat and the opposite leg is bent.

Arthritis Treatment on Long Island

By integrating these targeted hip stretches into your daily exercise routine, you’re not just stretching your muscles – you’re stretching the boundaries of what’s possible with hip arthritis. Each intentional movement enhances flexibility, fortifies muscle stability, and diminishes the risk of discomfort.

When faced with hip pain, whether from arthritis, a cartilage tear, or bursitis, you can trust Orlin & Cohen’s renowned hip subspecialists to help. Working with our dedicated physical therapists at multiple convenient locations across Long Island, we provide compassionate care and the latest techniques to ease your discomfort and fast-track your return to the activities you enjoy most.