Nagging injuries and body aches are frustrating! It can be so discouraging to suddenly shift from feeling good to experience an old, familiar pain.  Read on if you find yourself saying “Not this again.”

The hips are a part of the body that are prone to recurring aches and pain.  This is because of how much activity takes place through the hips: they are responsible for transferring loads up and down our bodies, keeping our trunks stable as we move around, and steering our legs and feet.

We have already written about common causes of hip pain, so let’s explore the reasons your hip pain keeps returning!

Is Muscle Tightness causing my hip pain?

Throughout the day most people are sitting much more than they realize.  Work, driving, eating, watching TV—that’s a lot of time that our hip muscles are resting in a shortened, restricted position which can cause the muscles to become tense and the joints to become stiff.

Foam rolling your glutes is an effective way to mobilize the muscles around your hips, get blood pumping to nourish your tissues, and lengthen your muscles.  Some studies suggest you only need to foam roll for 10 seconds on each body part to create change so it also isn’t a huge time commitment!

My favorite stretch to target multiple hip muscles is the ‘Figure 4’ Stretch while sitting.  Sit upright and place one ankle on your opposite knee.  Then hinge forward at the hips to deepen a stretch in the back part of your hip.  Hold for 60 seconds each side.

Try foam rolling and the ‘Figure 4’ stretch after long periods of sitting, and also to warm your muscles up before exercising!

Is my Hip Pain caused by my muscles not being strong enough?

Your hips are at the center of your body and work hard to stabilize the spine and legs. When muscles are weak or underdeveloped there is a higher likelihood of knots and spams.  The tendons and tissues carry the extra load, which can contribute to painful tendonitis or bursitis.  Keeping your core and glutes strong is crucial to happy hips.

My favorite exercises to target weak hip muscles are bridges, clamshells, standing hip abductions, and step downs.  Performing 3 sets of 10 repetitions of these exercises in a row will get those hips burning! During all these exercises, perform a ‘core brace’ to also strengthen your core muscles at the same time.

Is my Hip Pain caused by incorrect posture?

Our leg bone (femur) is meant to be centered in our hip socket (acetabulum) to allow for full, pain-free range of motion. When our posture gets ‘lazy,’ we can sometimes allow our leg bones to translate forward in the joint which can cause pinching and discomfort in the front of our hips and groin area and tension in the back of our hips.

Adjusting your posture while sitting and standing can correct this, in addition to the stretching and strengthening we’ve already reviewed.  While seated, position your butt into the back of your chair. Avoid the urge to cross your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor.

Going from relaxed posture to hips shifted back, low abdominals tight posture!

While standing, think about shifting your hips back slightly and gently tightening your lower abs as if you are putting on a pair of pants that are a little tight.  Your legs should be symmetrically weight-bearing through the center of your feet (avoid ‘popping’ your hip to the side or allowing one foot to turn outwards!).  Keep checking yourself throughout the day and correcting these common posture mistakes!

In Summary : Recurring Hip Pain Causes

If you are experiencing hip pain that keeps coming back, don’t hesitate to find a Physical Therapist to help you.  A Physical Therapist (PT) can evaluate your hips and give you a targeted list of exercises and tips to stick with that address your specific problems.

If you are in the Portland Metro area, give us a call at (503)295-2585 to connect with one of our PTs today!  Our clinic is located in Tigard and we are experts at treating hip pain and dysfunction for all ages. If you are not local, check out our blog on how to find a good PT to find someone to connect within your area!