Pain in the front of the hip is one of the most common diagnoses that we treat here at Life’s Work PT since it effects so many people.  The pain can stem from a few things but generally is caused because of poor posture and muscle imbalances.

We have already written a great article diving deep on the causes of front of the hip pain, so let’s talk more about things you can try today to relieve your hip pain!

Does my hip hurt because I’m not sitting right?

Posture is a big driver of pain in our backs, necks, and hips. However, when you’re told to correct your posture, it can be hard to figure out what exactly ‘good posture’ is.

Here is how to sit better to reduce your hip pain:

  • Make sure you sit back so your butt is deep in your chair. Avoid ‘perching’ on the edge of your chair.
  • Feet should be flat on the ground and supported. You may need to put books or a small ledge there so your feet rest flat.
  • Place a small pillow behind your lower back so your lower back is supported. Let your upper body rest against the chair instead of leaning forward.
  • Take frequent standing or walking breaks. Stand/walk around for 3 minutes every 30 minutes of sitting to reduce your hips feeling tight or sore.

LEFT photo: perched at edge of chair, head forward, not using chair for support, RIGHT photo: butt back, resting on chair, head stacked over shoulders, and arms/shoulders more relaxed with keyboard closer to body

Does my hip hurt because my muscles are too tight?

Oftentimes muscles that are too tight can cause hip achiness.  Here are two stretches that help relieve tension on muscles that tend to get tight because of sitting: the hip flexors (iliopsoas) and your deep glute muscles (the piriformis).

Hip Flexor Stretch:

This is one of the most effective hip flexor/iliopsoas stretches.

Kneel on the ground on one knee, your other leg in front. Then, keeping your trunk upright, tuck your pelvis and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the thigh and front of hip on the leg that the knee is down. Hold for 60 seconds on each side.

Check out a video of this stretch HERE!

Figure 4 Hip Rotator Stretch:

This is one of the best ways to stretch the piriformis.

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.

Check out a video of this stretch HERE!

Does my hip hurt because my muscles are weak?

Strengthening the back of your hip is helpful to make sure your hip joint is positioned correctly.

One of the most often prescribed but incorrectly performed exercise is the clamshell.  Let’s go over how to do this exercise correctly:

  • Perform a gentle abdominal brace like you are pulling your abdominals in to your spine an inch. Gently also lift the small of your waist up so your spine is straight.
  • Using the muscles on the back of your hip, think about pulling your thigh bone into your hip socket to ‘seed it’ correctly. Hold it here.
  • Squeezing the muscles on the back of your hip, lift your knee up toward the ceiling, keeping your feet together. Place some fingers behind your hip bone to feel the muscles contract.
  • Hold for 1 second, then lower your knee down slowly while still holding your abdominal muscles tight.

TIP: when you lift your knee up, you should not roll backwards! Your hips should stay stacked vertically. This might mean the motion is reduced but the exercise should feel more targeted.

My other favorite exercises to target weak hip muscles are bridges, 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.  Check out pictures of these exercises HERE.

Will Physical Therapy help my hip pain?

If you’ve tried the above tips and your hip pain is still bothering you, don’t hesitate to find a Physical Therapist to help you.  A Physical Therapist (PT) can evaluate your hip and be able to 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!