Hip Pain Stretches and Exercises for Osteoarthritis

So what do you do now that your doctor has diagnosed you with hip osteoarthritis? Are you looking for something other than the medications and the surgeries and procedures that your doctor's offering?

Well, watch this video to learn a natural solution to hip osteoarthritis and that's with exercise. Could you do me a favor and subscribe to my channel and hit that bell so you're notified of all of my content. I put out content on physical therapy, pilates, health, and wellness and would love your support of my channel, thanks a lot.

So what exercises should I do now that I know I have hip osteoarthritis? Well watch this video to learn a couple stretches to do and a few exercises to do as well to keep that hip mobile and strong as possible.

I've helped hundreds and hundreds of patients with this condition over my 20 plus year career as a physical therapist and I look forward to helping you as well. So the first thing we're going to do are three stretches and then we're going to do three exercises.

Stretching Exercises for Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Piriformis Stretch

The first three stretches and the one that I think is the most important is the piriformis stretch. So Cheryl, go ahead and bend your one leg up, both legs up and cross one leg over the other, whichever one is your tight one. So for her, she's picking the right one.

Now in that position, she's crossed the right leg over her left leg, I want you to reach through and grab on behind your left thigh... yeah, and you're pulling with both hands towards the chest. Now what I want you to do is take some deep breaths, inhale and exhale and we're going to hold this for 10 big breaths.

10 big breaths and I say that because it's real easy to do about two or three or count to 10 or 15 but we really want to hold it for longer and get into a deeper stretch here. Now a couple of options you can do is you can have your foot up against the wall to help take the pressure off of the arms and do the same stretch in that situation.

You can also hold on with your knee bent and holding on to right here, so just some other options but Cheryl, yeah that's another option. My arms are longer than hers, works for me, didn't work for her.

Now I'm going to say we're at about breath 10 here and we're going to go ahead and switch sides just so that you can see the difference. So we start with the right leg on the ground, left leg crossed at the knee, left ankle, pull the right leg back and we're going to hold for 10 big breaths, softening into the stretch.

Now the piriformis muscle is deep in the buttocks. It's underneath the glute maximus and it sits right on top of the sciatic nerve but what it does when it contracts is it rotates your hip outward and many people spend many most of their time with that hip in a rotated outward position.

So this is just a stretch to get into that piriformis muscle that gets really short and tight with most of us as we age and it affects this hip arthritis that we're talking about. All right, take a break from there Cheryl.

Internal Rotation Stretch 

Now the next one we're going to do is an internal rotation stretch and so I want to have you bring your legs a little bit further apart like this and what I want you to do is bring this knee towards this opposite ankle. Yeah, and you should feel a stretch. You may feel that in your piriformis you may feel it into the front of your hip.

Where do you feel that? Over here. Okay, all right, so that's your TFL, the tensor fasciae latae. Now what I'm going to have her doing while she's doing the same big breaths there, 10 of them is I'm going to have you very gently telescope out into my hand.

So you're kind of reaching very gently away and then relax and then very gently reach away and hold that for a moment and relax for a breath we'll say. Exhale, reach out. So she's just giving me a little nudge, a little push and we're creating a little more space in here. Good and let's do another one of those.

So with here we can do 10 breaths and relax and go on into the other side. So here we can do 10 breaths holding that position but after a couple of reps, breaths, excuse me, I want you to start thinking of that reach out, it's a telescope out through the femur.

Yeah and so that's just going to create a little more space in the hip joint and again what is arthritis? It's an inflammation of the joint space.

So if we can create some separation, some space in there it's going to only be helpful and can you tell the difference between those two Cheryl? Drastically... Yeah, which one is tighter? The left one is her tight one, she's kind of her left side is her chronic side.

All right and give me one more big push away, lengthening, lengthening, lengthening and in the GYROTONIC(R) world, we call this the fifth line and relax. All right so now let's bring the feet together, knees together. So we did a piriformis stretch.

We're going to call that the internal rotation stretch because we're going into internal rotation but it really kind of stretched a muscle called the TFL (tensor fasciae latae).

Lower Trunk Rotation

So here we're just going to do a rotation stretch, both legs together. Now, this is a lower trunk rotation. It's actually not a hip rotation but as you rotate this way it stretches up to the upper, lower rib cage, excuse me, and then we're going to go back and up and over to the other side.

We're going to just kind of make this more of a movement stretch than just holding it for those 10 breaths and then come up and over and we're going to do it back and forth 10 times. That's it and why are we stretching the pelvis whenever this is about hip arthritis?

Well if we just focus on the hip we're going to miss a few things. So we're actually creating a little mobility at the lumbar spine here, the sacrum, and the hips as well, but the hips have less motion emphasized here than say the last stretch we just did.

Now can you tell the difference with going side to side with that one? Uh-huh. And same I didn't ask, but in the piriformis stretch, was it also tighter on this left side in the piriformis stretch, the first one? Actually my right piriformis.

All right, so here we go. That's great, I'm glad that was their answer because it was not the side that hurts it was her opposite side that was tighter from compensating and just day-to-day life. Okay, so there's our three stretches, so that is three stretches.

Now we're gonna go into three exercises. Now with the exercises, we're gonna use an ankle weight. I'm gonna put a two-pound weight on her. Let's see how hard this is or easy it is for her and we're gonna go on the left leg because that's her weaker side.

What we're gonna now do and with that being her weaker side, that's gonna be the side that she's gonna have a more chance of developing osteoarthritis in the long run. Now what I want you to do Cheryl is laying on your side and face that way.

We're going to do, we're going to basically just flip in quarter turns here. Now in that position, the top leg is going to be straight, the bottom leg's going to be bent. We're going to put that leg under you a tiny bit. So, from here we're going to think of a little space here in your back so that you're not compressed in your lower back and you're going to lift that left leg into the air.

You're not going forward and you're not going back and remember that little pistoning idea that we talked about a little while ago. You're going to think of a little piston and reach out of your heel. Now she's doing 10 of those, that's already three. Stop at ten Cheryl.

She's got a two-pound weight on her this is an adjustable five-pound weight. Right now it's set as three pounds and these three pounds are in the weight constantly but it also has two additional one-pound weights that could be added to it to make it a three or four or a five-pound weight.

Empower Adjustable Ankle & Wrist Weights for Women hip pain stretches and exercises for osteoarthritis

Image via Amazon

I love these types of ankle weights because it allows you to progress and a two-pound weight, is it heavy?


Yeah. Yeah, it's a lot heavier than people think and again this is kind of a therapeutic exercise for a very specific muscle on the side of the hip, the hip abductors.

Okay, now what I want you to do Cheryl, is roll to your stomach and as she rolls to her stomach we're going to do hip extension so hip extension you're going to raise the hip, the leg in the air with the knee straight, contracting the abdominals and we're going to exhale as you lift. That's it.

We're going to do 10 of these and we're going to really have you at home start doing sets of ten, two sets, three sets, building your way up to three sets of ten over the next week or two and we're only going to show you on one side today but I will have you do these on both sides for symmetry and paying attention to how the two might be different and how they might feel different with strength.

All right now, the last one we're gonna do, that's it and now what I want you to do is take the bottom leg and keep it straight and take the top leg and there's gonna be two options. The option is in there just lifting the bottom leg now, yep.

That's one way. Another way, let me just show you because I want you to do whichever one's a little harder for you. This is another option here and then lifting the leg from there. Which one of those is a little harder for you? This one. All right so let's do that one.

Do this one, excuse me, that's it so this is your adductor. So we went from the ABductor to the extensor to now the ADductor which is the inner thigh and the inner thigh is actually a big muscle but it's usually weaker than the ABductors. It's kind of interesting big bigger muscle but is typically weaker. So here we are two-pound weight, ten sets, I'm sorry, ten reps.

Start with a set of ten, do three sets of ten as you progress over the next week or two, and do the strengthening exercises after the stretches. We'll be back with another video real soon to show you the next round of exercises. So comment below and tell me what you learned from this video and what you can implement immediately.

Retrain the Brain to Solve Back Pain, A Mindful Approach to Healing: The Dunn Method.

So now I want you to go to amazon and download my book... "Retrain the Brain to Solve Back Pain."

Yes, it's a comprehensive book for back pain but all of the exercises in it are great for hip osteoarthritis and chapter 4 is the most important chapter in this book for anyone with hip arthritis. 

Live in Austin, Texas? Well, come try our Pilates reformer classes or privates or our Gyrotonic tower classes or private sessions. They're great for those tight hips and weak hips. Be on the lookout for my next video in my hip osteoarthritis series.

Stephen Dunn

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