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6 Exercises to Relieve Hip Pain

By Robert Rogacki | Therapydia DC

Hip pain is one of the most common injuries we treat at Therapydia. It can seem random, as most of our patients are not sure why their hip(s) started bothering them. Despite this, hip pain can be debilitating, causing pain with running, exercise, or even walking throughout a normal day.

Here are a few exercises that you can do to relieve or prevent hip pain:

Exercise 1: Clamshells 

Often, our patients present with weakness in their lateral hip muscles. To perform this exercise, lie on one side with both knees bent. Keep your feet together, and bring your top knee up toward the ceiling, stopping before your spine and torso start to rotate. You can hold the position at the top for a few seconds (we often have patients start with 5 second holds), then return to your starting position.

Perform 10-15 repetitions, then rest (or do the other side!).

Exercise 2: Reverse clamshells

This exercise is part of a hip strengthening series we will often prescribe to patients who report hip pain or present with hip weakness. To perform these, lie on your side with your knees bent, just like the previous exercise. This time, keep your knees together, and rotate your top foot toward the ceiling. You can also hold this exercise at the top, just like before.

Perform 10-15 repetitions, then rest.

Exercise 3: Hip flexor stretch

Many of our patients who have hip or back pain present with tight hip flexors, or the muscles in the front of your hip. To stretch them out, start by kneeling down on the ground with the other leg bent in front of you. You can use a pillow to cushion your knee if needed. Keep your torso upright, and lunge forward gently. You should feel a stretch along the front of your back leg (the one kneeling on the ground). If needed, try rotating your upper body slightly in either direction to create more of a stretch.

Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times.

Exercise 4: Sidelying hip abduction

To continue strengthening your lateral hips, lie on your side. You can bend your bottom leg for balance, but your top knee should be straight. Make sure to keep your hips “stacked” on top of one another, and lift your top leg up toward the ceiling. Don’t go too high, though — you only need to get the bottom leg 1-2 feet off the ground to get the most bang for your buck from this exercise.

Perform 10-15 repetitions, then rest.

Exercise 5: Prone hip extension

Lie face down with one knee bent. Squeeze your glutes, and try to lift the bent leg up toward the ceiling. Hold at the top for a few seconds, then return to your starting position. It’s important that you do not lift up too high — just enough to get your thigh off the ground will do — so your lumbar spine stays in a neutral position.

Perform 10-15 repetitions, then rest.

Exercise 6: Bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes, and raise your hips up off the ground. 

Perform 10-15 repetitions, then rest. To progress this exercise, add a 5-10 second hold at the top of your bridge.


These exercises are just a few of the many different techniques we employ at Therapydia to help our patients eliminate their pain and return to their favorite activities. If your pain persists, schedule an appointment with one our our physical therapists, and they will help assist you on your road to recovery.

Jessica Jones

Physical Therapist

Jessica recently moved to Seattle from Boston, MA and is excited to join the Therapydia team. Her treatment experience includes orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and vestibular therapy. Jessica received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2016. She has completed the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and is in the process of completing a Comprehensive Vestibular Rehabilitation certification. Jessica believes in empowering and inspiring patients to take control of their health through education, movement, and exercise. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and levels while utilizing soft tissue techniques, neuromuscular re-education, balance training as well as therapeutic exercise. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, dancing, kayaking, and hiking with her dog!


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