Exercises to Help With Hip Tendonitis

woman doing kneeling hip flexor stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein / Model: Ana Alarcon

If you have hip pain, you may be experiencing hip tendonitis. The pain may be caused by irritation of the tendons and muscles that surround your hip. Hip flexor tendonitis may cause you to have difficulty with normal walking, running, or stair climbing. Sometimes, the simple act of rising from a chair is difficult with hip tendonitis.

If you have hip tendonitis, you may benefit from exercise to help relieve your pain. Exercise for hip tendonitis can help strengthen muscles, offering more support to your hip joint and improving your ability to move normally.

Once the pain from your hip has subsided, exercises may be your main tool in the prevention of future problems with hip tendonitis. Other conditions, like hip arthritis or trochanteric bursitis, may also be managed successfully with exercise.

Many people benefit from working with a physical therapist for hip tendonitis. Your therapist can assess your condition and prescribe the right exercises for you.

The Hip Joint and Tendonitis

Your hip is a ball and socket joint. The ball is located at the uppermost part of your thigh bone, and it fits into a socket in your pelvis. Several ligaments hold the bones together, and muscles help move your hips.

The muscles attach to your hip bones via tendons, and overuse of these tendons may cause pain and inflammation. Inflammation is your body's normal healing mechanism for injured tissues and causes chemical and mechanical changes to the affected tendons.

The chemicals involved in the inflammatory process may make you feel pain in the injured tissue. This is a good thing. Pain causes you to limit your motion and allow healing to take place.

Is Your Pain Caused by Tendonitis or Bursitis?

Many people are confused as to whether their hip pain is caused by tendonitis or bursitis. Hip exercises can be an effective treatment for both conditions, and many of the same exercises are performed for both.

If you are experiencing hip pain, you should visit your physician for a checkup. They can examine your hip, perform diagnostic studies like X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and determine if hip tendonitis is causing your pain.

Treatment for your condition should focus on gaining range of motion and strength in your hip. These exercises are a good way to accomplish that goal.

Hip Flexor Exercises for Tendonitis

If you have hip tendonitis, you should exercise depending upon the acuity of your condition. If your tendonitis is acute, you may need to start slow, as pain may limit intense exercise.

You should choose exercises that focus on gaining pain-free motion and strength, like the hip flexor stretch, the pelvic tilt, and the standing butt squeeze. Perform one set of five to 10 repetitions once daily for these exercises.

As your pain subsides and your hip strength and mobility improves, you can add one exercise every few days until you can perform all of the exercises in one session.

As your pain improves, you can increase the number of sets and repetitions of each exercise. Two to three sets of 15 repetitions is a good goal to aim for.

Once your hip pain is better, the exercises can be done three to five times each week to maintain strength and mobility to prevent future problems with your hip tendonitis. Three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions are recommended to maintain hip health and prevent future occurrences with hip tendonitis or trochanteric bursitis.

Before starting any exercise for hip tendonitis, check in with your physician or physical therapist. They can be sure you are exercising properly and that exercise is safe for you to do. Also, stop any exercise that causes pain or excessive strain while performing it.

Standing Butt Squeeze

To do this exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (don’t lock your knees). Keep your feet pointed straight ahead.
  2. Think about pushing the floor away from you with your heels. (Your feet will not actually move, but you should feel your gluteal muscles on the sides of your hips engage.)
  3. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing.
  4. Relax for one or two seconds, and then repeat 10 repetitions.

Isometric Hip Press

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the floor directly under your knees.
  2. Loop a belt or hip circle around your legs just above your knees.
  3. Press against the belt or hip circle with the outside of your legs.
  4. Hold the contraction for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing.
  5. Relax, and then repeat the contraction.

Pelvic Tilt With Marching

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the floor directly under your knees.
  2. As you exhale, press your lower back into the floor.
  3. Slowly raise one leg with your knee bent, as if you are marching.
  4. Hold your leg in this raised position for five to 10 seconds before slowly returning your foot to the ground.
  5. Repeat with your other leg as if you were marching. Be sure to hold the pelvic tilt position while marching.
  6. Repeat 10 to 15 repetitions.

Hip/Glute Bridges

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the floor directly under your knees.
  2. Breathe out, and then scoop your tailbone upward (your lower back should flatten against the floor).
  3. Continue to push through your heels and use your gluteal muscles to lift your hips off the ground until your glutes are fully flexed and your body is a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  4. Slowly return your back to the floor, concentrating on placing one bone of your back at a time back on the floor.
  5. Relax for one second, and then repeat the motion for 10 to 15 repetitions.


Lying Lateral Leg Raises

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on your right side. You can extend your right arm and rest your head on it or prop yourself on your right elbow with your forearm flat on the ground. Choose whichever one helps you balance more.
  2. Keeping your left leg in line with your right, raise it off the ground about 15 inches.
  3. Slowly return your left leg to just above your right, still keeping it in line with your right leg.
  4. Repeat the leg raise for 10 to 15 repetitions, and then switch sides.

Scissors

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the floor directly under your knees.
  2. Scoop your tailbone up and bring your legs off the ground so that your knees are directly over your hips and your lower legs are parallel to the floor.
  3. As you tighten your abs and glutes, slowly extend one leg and hold it there for five to 10 seconds.
  4. Slowly return your leg to the starting position before repeating with the other leg. (Note: If you extend the leg closer to the floor, it will be more challenging. If you’re just starting out, you may want to extend the leg higher off the ground.)
  5. Repeat the exercise for five to 10 repetitions.

Lying Leg Circles

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Tighten your abs and glutes so that your lower back is flat against the floor.
  3. Raise one leg three inches off the ground. Make small circles with this leg, keeping it straight the whole time.
  4. Perform five rotations with one leg before returning it to the ground and repeating on the other leg.
  5. Repeat the leg circles for 10 repetitions on each leg.

Hip Flexor Stretch

To do this exercise:

  1. Kneel on one leg and place the other foot out in front of you with your knee at a 90-degree angle. You can place a towel under your knee for comfort.
  2. Keep your back straight and engage your glutes as you push your hips forward. Push forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the hip flexor on the front of your thigh on the leg with your knee on the floor.
  3. Hold that stretch for 10 to 30 seconds before pushing your hips back to the starting position.
  4. Switch your legs and repeat for five repetitions on each side.

Pro tip: Be sure to keep your abdominals engaged while you move forward to stretch your hip flexor.

A Word From Verywell

If you have hip pain from tendonitis or trochanteric bursitis, you may benefit from exercise to help with your condition. Exercise is a safe and effective way to improve hip motion and strength and decrease hip tendonitis pain.

Exercises, like the ones in this program, can be done to treat hip tendonitis, and they may be an effective strategy to prevent it. That way, you can be sure to maintain hip health and enjoy pain-free function with your hips.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Frizziero A, Vittadini F, Pignataro A, et al. Conservative management of tendinopathies around hipMuscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2016;6(3):281-292. doi:10.11138/mltj/2016.6.3.281

  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hip bursitis. Updated September 2018.