Ouch! If you’re suffering hip bursitis pain, these exercises can help

Hip bursitis can occur when the hip is exposed to a level of stress that is more than what the hip can handle. So follow these exercises to relieve it.
hip pain
Hip pain can be very annoying, but here's how to deal with it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:24 pm IST
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Hip pain can be very debilitating and have a lot of repercussions for those suffering from it. Within the hip, there are a variety of muscles, tendons, and bones that all work together to help us keep moving forward and backward, up and down, and side to side. If you have pain in your hips, you may be suffering from a condition called hip bursitis. Due to this, walking can also be very challenging.

To understand more about this condition, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Yogesh K, Consultant – Orthopedics, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru. 

What is hip bursitis?

Bursae are small, jelly-like sacs that are located throughout the body, including around the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel. They contain a small amount of fluid and are positioned between bones and soft tissues, acting as cushions to help reduce friction. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa and this condition is referred to as hip bursitis.

hip pain
Butt pain is more common than you think. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The most common causes of bursitis are:

Repetitive motions or positions that put pressure on the bursae around a joint. Examples include:

  • Throwing a baseball or lifting something over your head repeatedly
  • Leaning on your elbows for long periods
  • Extensive kneeling for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors
  • Other causes include injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infection.

Symptoms may include: 

  • Joint pain and tenderness
  • You may also see swelling and feel warmth around the affected area
  • The pain is often sharp in the first few days. It may dull later 
  • You may notice it more when you are getting out of a chair or bed
  • You may also notice it when sitting for a long time and when sleeping on the affected side.

Acute bursitis usually flares over hours or days. Chronic bursitis can last from a few days to several weeks. Chronic bursitis can go away and come back again. Acute bursitis can become chronic if it comes back or if a hip injury occurs.

“Over time, the bursa may become thick, which can make swelling worse. This can lead to limited movement and weakened muscles (called atrophy) in the area,” says Dr Yogesh.

Can hip bursitis be prevented or avoided?

You can avoid getting bursitis by:

  • Not putting too much strain on your hips
  • Avoid activities that are especially difficult or painful
  • Take breaks to rest your hips
  • When you exercise, remember to warm up your muscles and then stretch to prevent injury
  • If you’re overweight, losing weight can help reduce pressure on your joints, including the hips
  • People with hip bursitis should also avoid exercising on inclined surfaces and stairs, especially running hills, until symptoms have resolved
hip pain
Are you suffering from butt pain? Then prevent it with these tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Yogesh says, treatment for bursitis usually involves doing strengthening exercises and stretching. This helps prevent muscle atrophy.Follow these exercises:

Hip stretching exercises

People with hip bursitis should regularly stretch. The main stretches are: stretching hip flexors, the quadriceps, the lateral hip, and the hamstring muscles. Focus on stretching on the affected area rather than on the unaffected area. Try these stretching exercises:

  • Seated hamstring stretch 
  • Standing knee bend
  • Pigeon stretch
  • Spiderman stretch
  • Butterfly stretch

Hip strengthening exercises

Follow these strengthening exercises


Keep an idea of your risk of weight-related issues.

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1. Lunges:

  • From a standing position, look straight ahead and take a generous step forward with your right foot.
  • Bend your extended knee and transfer your weight onto that front right leg. Continue to lower yourself slowly into the lunge until your left knee hovers just above, or softly kisses, the ground. Your right knee should be directly above your right ankle.
  • Step back into a standing position. Repeat the pose with your left leg.

2. Mountain Climbers:

  • Position yourself on a wood floor or another smooth surface.
  • Place your sliders under the balls of your feet while in a pushup position.
  • Pull your right leg toward your chest, alternating with your left leg as you would for standard mountain climbers.
  • Go slowly at first, then pick up the pace.
hip pain
You can also, lose weight and get toned abs with this one move. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Skater Squats:

This move is similar to regular squats, with a tweak that specifically targets your hips.

  • Bend from the knee and hips, lowering your butt toward the ground while keeping your back straight and chest lifted.
  • After each squat, shift your weight to either your right or left leg while lifting the opposite leg off to the side with your toes pointed ahead.
  • Alternate legs each time.
  • Lie on your back with your palms at your side. Take turns extending each leg up and off the ground for about 2 seconds.
  • Hold your leg at roughly a 45-degree angle. Your opposite leg should be bent at the knee with your foot planted on the floor, while your raised foot should keep the toe pointed to the sky.
  • Switch legs, and then repeat 10 times on each leg.

4. Straight Leg Raises:

  • Sleep on your back on the floor.
  • Lift one leg at a time straight up to 60 degrees without bending the knees.
  • Hold it for 10 seconds and then get it down.
  • Repeat 20 times for each leg.

5. Side Leg Raises:

  • Lie on your right side with your legs stacked.
  • Raise your left leg as high as you can.
  • Pause here, then return to the starting position.
  • Do 2–3 sets of 12–15 repetitions on both sides.

6. Clamshell exercise:

  • Lie on your side with bent knees and a resistance band around your lower thighs.
  • Rotate your top leg up as high as you can, then pause for a moment.
  • Lower to the starting position.
  • Do 1–3 sets of 8–15 repetitions

7. Donkey Kicks:

  • From the tabletop position, lift your right knee, keeping it bent as you kick upward.
  • Bring the bottom of your foot toward the ceiling.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Do 2–3 sets of 12–20 repetitions on each side.
hip pain
Also, try donkey kicks to get rid of all the pain! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

8. Frankenstein walk:

This exercise works your hips, quads, and hamstrings. It also increases the range of motion. Maintain good posture, avoid bending at the waist, and increase your speed as you progress.

  • Stand with your arms extended in front of you, palms facing down.
  • As you move forward, swing your right leg up to extend it straight out, creating a 90-degree angle with your body.
  • Lower your right leg to the floor, then swing your left leg up in the same way.
  • Continue for 1 minute, changing direction if your space is limited.

Do these exercises after due consultation with your doctor please!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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