Hip bursitis can be very painful and difficult to live with, but we are here to help you ease the discomfort with a list of hip bursitis exercises. Read on to find out more!
RELATED: What Is Bursitis Symptoms And Treatment?
In this article:
- What Is Hip Bursitis?
- What Causes Hip Bursitis?
- What Are the Symptoms of Hip Bursitis?
- How Doctors Diagnose Hip Bursitis
- Strengthening Exercises for Hip Bursitis
- Hip Bursitis Stretching Exercises
- Other Remedies for Hip Bursitis
- How Can You Prevent Hip Bursitis?
- Switching to an Anti-inflammatory Diet to Help Bursitis of the Hip
- Foods to Avoid with Hip Bursitis
- Sample Menu for a Day
- Ways to Create an Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
- Benefits of an Enhance Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
11 Easy Home Hip Bursitis Exercises
What Is Hip Bursitis?
Hip bursitis, or greater trochanteric bursitis, occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed, resulting in lateral hip pain and swelling.
The bursa is a jelly-like liquid-filled sac that reduces the friction between moving tissue in your body. The irritation and inflammation of the sac may cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty in movement.
What Causes Hip Bursitis?
Bursitis, in general, is a non-infectious disease primarily caused by swelling of the greater trochanteric bursa. Injury and soft tissue trauma in the hip area are the common causes of the inflammation.
In rare cases, the hip bursa may swell when infected with bacteria. Risk factors for this condition may include activities that can cause fatigue to the hip area, such as going up and down the stairs.
What Are the Symptoms of Hip Bursitis?
The most common symptoms of this condition are greater trochanteric pain and tenderness in the thigh and outer hip. This makes it difficult to lie on the affected side, negatively affecting sleep.
You may also feel dull, burning pain on your thigh and outer hip, which can get worse when climbing up and down the stairs, exercising, and excessive walking. This joint pain can limit your range of motion.
In the early stages of the condition, you may feel sharp and intense pain and inflammation. Later in the stages, it may become like an ache and can spread across the larger parts of your hip.
How Doctors Diagnose Hip Bursitis
When you experience the symptoms and decide to visit a physician, the first thing they will do is conduct a physical examination. This can include checking the movements that may cause pain on the hip and asking how long you have the condition.
Your physician may also advise you to have an x-ray examination to check if there are other issues involved. You may also get an ultrasound test or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate your condition carefully.
Strengthening Exercises for Hip Bursitis
Hip strengthening exercises for bursitis, specifically for your core and thighs, will allow these muscles to support your hips. Performing your regular routine will become less painful because your strengthened muscles can cushion the impact on the joints.
Important: Start slowly with each of these hip bursitis exercises and stop if you start feeling pain.
1. Side Plank
- Lie sideways with your shoulders, hips, and legs straight.
- Raise yourself up with your forearm and elbow under the shoulder.
- Raise your hips off the floor and balance yourself using your forearm and the outside of your foot.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
- Lower your hips slowly to the ground.
- Switch sides and repeat.
2. The Plank
- Lie on your stomach while raising yourself up with your forearms. Make sure your legs are both straight.
- Raise your hips off the floor and keep them in line with the shoulders.
- Use your toes and forearms to support yourself.
- Stay in this position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat.
3. Hip Bridges
- Lie on your back and keep both feet flat on the floor with your legs bent.
- Bring your weight down to your heels to raise your hips and make sure they are in line with the knees and shoulders. You’ll feel an upward driving motion from both your hamstring and glutes.
- Slowly sink your hips back down.
- Do 20 repetitions of 5 sets.
- Lie sideways on the floor, making sure the uninjured side is the one touching the floor.
- Lay your head on a pillow.
- Keep your knees and feet together while bending your knees.
- Lift your top knee while keeping both feet together. Make sure your hips do not rollback. The proper form of your legs should look like an opening clamshell.
- Hold your position for 6 seconds.
- Lower your knee slowly to its original position and take a 10-second rest.
- Repeat the steps 8-12 more times.
5. Side-Lying Leg Raise
- Lie on your side (make sure it’s the uninjured one).
- Compress the front thigh muscle of your injured leg.
- Lift the leg up to 10 inches away from each other.
- Keep the leg steady and straight then, slowly lower it.
- Do two sets of 15 repetitions each.
6. Lying Leg Circles
- Lie on your back and extend your legs.
- Raise your left leg 3 inches high. Then, start to make small circles while you keep your entire leg straight.
- Do the previous step with your right leg.
- Do three sets of at least five rotations per leg for a grand total of 30 repetitions on each of the legs.
7. Clam Exercise
- Lie on the injured side while bending your knees and hips and securing your feet together.
- Raise your top leg slowly towards the ceiling and make sure your heels don’t touch each other.
- Hold it for two seconds and slowly lower your legs.
- Do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Hip Bursitis Stretching Exercises
Doing stretching exercises for hip bursitis can help loosen up the different muscles of the hips to release tension and ease pain.
8. Gluteal Stretch
- Lay on your back with both of your knees bent.
- Place your injured ankle over the other leg’s knee.
- Grab the thigh of the uninjured leg and start pulling it to your chest.
- You should feel a stretch from your buttocks on your injured side and maybe outside of the hip.
- Hold the stretching position for 15-30 seconds and repeat two more times.
9. Standing Iliotibial Band Stretch
- Cross the uninjured leg in front of the injured leg.
- Bend down and try to reach for the inside of the back foot.
- Keep your knees straight.
- Keep the position for 15-30 seconds.
- Stand and repeat two more times.
10. Side-Leaning Iliotibial Band Stretch
- Stand sideways next to a wall and make sure your injured side is facing the wall.
- Touch the wall for support.
- Cross which leg is farther away from the wall over your other leg.
- Make sure the foot closer to the wall is flat on the ground.
- Lean the hips into the wall.
- Hold the position for 15-30 seconds and repeat two more times.
11. Hip Rotator Stretch
- Lie down with your back on the ground and bend your knees. Make sure both feet are flat on the ground.
- Position the ankle, the one with the affected leg, on the opposite leg near the knee.
- Gently push your knee away using your hand until you can feel some stretching in your hip area.
- Hold it for about 30 seconds.
- Repeat the previous steps four times.
- Repeat the previous steps and gently pull your knee towards the opposite shoulder.
Other Remedies for Hip Bursitis
- Ice compresses or warm baths are common home remedies for bursitis and may help with the inflammation and reduce pain.
- Assistive devices such as crutches and canes may help you move around easier.
- Ask your doctor what activities could worsen your symptoms and avoid them.
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and piroxicam for pain relief as prescribed.
- You can also eat anti-inflammatory foods to help lower inflammation levels in your body. These foods can include the following:
- Dark chocolate or cocoa
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Green tea
- Fatty fish
How Can You Prevent Hip Bursitis?
In most cases, you cannot prevent hip bursitis, but there are several preventive measures you can do to lower your risk of this condition.
- Maintain flexibility and strength of your hip muscles by regularly exercising, not the physical activity that puts too much stress on your hip area.
- Secure a fitting shoe insert if you have leg differences.
- Lose weight as much as possible to lift the strain and pressure on your hips.
- Avoid repetitive activities that can cause stress to your hips.
Switching to an Anti-inflammatory Diet to Help Bursitis of the Hip
Prioritizing your diet is important to reduce inflammation when recovering from bursitis in the hip. The rule of the anti-inflammatory diet is simple: Eat more anti-inflammatory foods and minimize or avoid inflammatory ones.
The diet should focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods packed with antioxidants to neutralize free radicals.
Your metabolism creates free radicals as part of the process, but if these reactive molecules are too many, it can result in inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory diet must have a healthy balance of good fats, carbs, and protein, making sure that there are loads of water, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals.
For people trying to lose weight or have metabolic syndrome, following a low-carb diet can help with inflammation. Vegetarian diets are also a good option.
Foods to Avoid with Hip Bursitis
Although it’s crucial to know which foods to include in your diet to lower inflammation, it’s also essential to know what to avoid or minimize consuming to prevent the condition from worsening:
- Trans fats – Foods with partially hydrogenated ingredients
- Some oils – Vegetable or processed seed oils like corn and soybean oils
- Processed snack foods – Pretzels, chips, and crackers
- Processed meat – Sausages, bologna, and hot dogs
- Desserts – Ice cream, cake, candy, and cookies
- Refined carbs – White pasta and bread
- Sugary drinks – Fruit juices and sugar-sweetened beverages
Sample Menu for a Day
To help you get started with your anti-inflammatory diet, here’s a one-day sample meal plan you can use as a guide:
- Water or green tea
- 1 cup or 225 g of cherries
- Three-egg omelet with one cup or 110 g of mushrooms and one cup or 67 g of kale
- 1 cup or 125 g of raspberries with chopped pecans and plain Greek yogurt
- Grilled salmon with mixed greens, vinegar, and olive oil
- 30 g of dark chocolate, at least 80% cocoa
- Red wine 140-280 ml
- Chicken curry with broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes
Ways to Create an Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can increase the levels of inflammation in the body.
Ideally, an adult should achieve 7-9 hours of sleep each day to help the body fully recharge. To promote restful sleep and to sleep faster, you can do the following before bedtime:
- Stay calm and relaxed
- Take an aromatic bath
- Read books and novels
- Listen to soft music
- Write a journal
- Make sure the room is conducive for sleep
2. Reduce Stress
The immune system releases pro-inflammatory cytokines that attack invaders when the body senses a threat. These cytokines typically go away, but when there is chronic stress, they keep coming back, causing adverse effects.
Pro-inflammatory Cytokines Definition: Signaling molecules released from immune cells, like T-cells, that trigger inflammation
Stress can come in many forms: work, family, relationships, and social. You might not avoid it at some point, but you can always control it in different ways, such as:
- Avoiding nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine
- Getting physically active
- Getting more sleep
- Practicing relaxation methods
- Talking to someone
- Keeping a stress diary
- Managing time for daily tasks
- Saying “no” to difficult responsibilities
- Taking a break from work
- Resting when feeling unwell
3. Improve Gut Health
Your gut is the foundation of many of your body’s systems. When the intestinal lining is defective, bacteria and undigested food particles enter the gut, and it may result in inflammation throughout your body.
To avoid this from happening, you can always enhance your gut health in various ways, such as:
- Eating a vegetarian diet
- Avoiding smoking
- Getting enough sleep
- Working out regularly
- Minimizing antibiotic intake if possible
- Reducing stress
- Eating fewer sweeteners and sugar
- Consuming probiotic fiber
- Eating fermented foods and taking probiotics
4. Add More Vegetables to Your Diet
Vegetables are great sources of anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables are the best options because they also contain essential nutrients.
The veggies can be consumed in salad, stews, and soups or cooked with other dishes. When roasting or baking them, make sure to use coconut or olive oil as they are good sources of healthy fats.
5. Avoid Gluten
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. When you are sensitive to it, it can trigger inflammation and affect soft tissue and organs.
You might be gluten-intolerant if you have the following symptoms:
- Brain fog
- Arm or leg numbness
- Muscle and joint pain
- Autoimmune disorders
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Unexplained weight loss
- Skin problem
- Feeling tired
- Abdominal pain
- Smelly feces, constipation, diarrhea
Foods without gluten are:
- Lean beef
- Vinegar and oils
- Dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
When eating outside, it can be challenging not to eat glutinous dishes, but you can stick with the same food types listed. Make sure to avoid ordering fried foods and those that are fried in the same pan with the glutinous food.
You can opt for eating in vegetarian restaurants or order in food stores that have gluten-free packed foods. Also, it’s important to check the label every time you go shopping for groceries.
6. Drink Clean Water
Drinking clean water helps flush out toxins harmful to the body. Install a water filter with a reverse-osmosis system at home to clean your tap water.
Enough water in the body can hydrate joints and tissues, preventing unnecessary swelling. It also makes sure nutrients from your diet are delivered properly, preventing the slowing down of metabolism and cellular function.
Benefits of an Enhance Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
You may experience these rewards following good sleep, regular exercise, and an anti-inflammatory meal plan:
- Improvements in mood and energy
- Better cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Reduction in inflammatory markers in the body
- Decreased risk of cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other diseases
- Improvement of symptoms of lupus, hip bursitis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders
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Planning to do those exercises in the morning? Check out these health hacks to start your day:
It is best to do these hip bursitis exercises four to five times a week to get the best results. Adding strength and flexibility to your leg and hip muscles may help with hip bursitis relief.
Make sure that you follow all of your doctor’s advice, including undergoing physical therapy, and go to all of the aftercare appointments. Call your doctor right away if you’re experiencing problems.
Finally, keep a list of all the medicines you take.
Which of the hip bursitis exercises above do you prefer? Tell us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.