Exercises - Hip Bursitis (Trochanteric Bursitis) Relief
Exercises for Hip Bursitis Relief (Trochanteric Bursitis)
by Justin Check – Flexcin's Health & Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritional Coach
Last Updated – April 29, 2013
Anyone who suffers hip pain from bursitis knows that it can severely limit your mobility. Once upon a time, people with bursitis were told that rest and immobilization were the best treatments for pain. However, we now know that the old saying “use it or lose it” is a much more effective approach for reducing symptoms and increasing mobility. Strengthening the hip stabilizer muscles has been shown to help protect areas vulnerable to inflammation and greatly reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. But how is one supposed to strengthen a vulnerable hip without causing pain? By following some simple safety tips and performing certain stretches and exercises that isolate the hip muscles, you can strengthen your hip muscles without irritating the bursa.
What is Hip (Trochanteric) Bursitis?
Bursitis is caused by the inflammation of the bursae, which are jelly-like sacs that surround the joints throughout the body and reduce friction between moving parts. The more common of the two types of hip bursitis is trochanteric bursitis, which is when the bursa surrounding the greater trochanter becomes irritated and inflamed. The greater trochanter is the bony part of the hip just below the pelvis and is also the main attachment point for the muscles that move the hip joint. There are many possible contributors to trochanteric bursitis including repetitive activities that place stress on the hips, being overweight and even the way you walk and sit.
The first steps doctors recommend for treating hip bursitis include non-surgical approaches such as lifestyle modifications and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Many sufferers of hip pain also claim that stretching and mild strength training are helpful for reducing symptoms. Only after making any necessary lifestyle modifications and increasing your flexibility/strength in the hip muscles will a doctor suggest surgery if pain persists. Of course the best action you can take for hip bursitis is prevention, which can be done by regularly performing hip strengthening and flexibility exercises. If you currently suffer from trochanteric bursitis, take note of these preventive safety tips before engaging in a hip strengthening program:
- Avoid any heavy external rotation movements (e.g. pulling thighs away from each other with a resistance band) of your thighs as much as possible.
- Always walk heel to toe with your feet pointed straight ahead.
- Never sit for long periods of time with your legs crossed.
- Stop if something hurts! Listen to your bursa. Once your hip bursa is irritated, only rest will reduce inflammation.
- Speak with your physician before beginning a hip strengthening program.
Recommended Stretches and Exercises for Hip Bursitis
1. Double Leg Bridge
Position and Movement: Supine, keep heels close to the glutes. Keep hips level. Abdominals engaged with a neutral pelvis. Focus on stabilizing legs through the glutes instead of the hamstrings. Raise and lower hips slowly and with control. Reps: 8-10 times
2. Single Leg Bridge
Position and Movement: Same as double leg bridge, but only one leg is fixed on the ground. Other leg remains lifted off the floor ideally 90 degrees. The lifted leg should be straight with a flexed foot. Reps: 8-10 times each side
3. Abduction Lifts
Lift top leg 12 inches from bottom leg, lower top leg down. Don’t let legs touch. Top foot is flexed the entire time. Reps: 8-12 times each side
4. Modified Wall Squat
Stand with your back, shoulders, and head against a wall and look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your feet 2 feet away from the wall and shoulder's width apart. Place a ball or folded pillow between your knees. Keep your back upright, slowly squat while squeezing the ball or pillow down as far as you comfortably can (up to a 90-degree angle). Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 10 times for up to 3 sets