If you’re struggling with hip arthritis, exercises can help to improve your quality of life. As articular cartilage wears out in the hip joint, it can become increasingly painful, stiff, and difficult to move. Regardless of the type of arthritis you are suffering from, such as osteoarthritis of the hip, ankylosing spondylitis, or rheumatoid arthritis, having an exercise program to better manage your hip arthritis is essential. While it won’t reserve your hip arthritis, it can make symptoms manageable and prevent unnecessary complications such as hip replacement surgery and disability. Keep reading to learn more about exercises for hip arthritis.
A well-balanced exercise program for arthritic hip pain focuses on restoring and maintaining range of motion, strength, and overall hip function to provide pain relief, especially when combined with other home treatment options.
What you can specifically tolerate will depend on your hip symptoms and current activity level. Remember, you can always schedule a round of physical therapy if you need more guidance.
Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the hip are common as arthritis progresses making it feel difficult to complete normal daily activities like standing, squatting, and walking. Try these basic stretches to help maintain range of motion and hip function.
The hip flexors run across the front of the hip and pelvis, and often become stiff with wear of the arthritic hip joint and painful, sometimes progressing to back pain. This hip flexor stretch can give quick relief and promote better hip extension for daily movement.
This simple hip stretch can give you relief and promote improved hip flexion and help with any symptoms of lower back pain. It is important to start gently and never force the stretch if you feel pain or pinching, especially if there are bone spurs or other abnormalities of the femoral head.
Incorporating a hamstring stretch into your hip routine is always a good idea. With the hamstrings being notoriously tight with hip arthritis, consistent stretching will help your hip stay as limber as possible.
Try these two exercises to focus on basic hip strength.
When starting this single-leg exercise, it’s important to start with support for your safety. Then with time, try to progress to less hand support or even stand on a balance foam pad. This exercise works at stabilizing hip muscles in both the stabilizing and moving leg.
If you are struggling with your form or balance, you can also do this movement in side-lying on the floor.
This exercise is similar to standing hip abduction above, with a focus on the larger hip muscles like the gluteus maximus. This is a great exercise to complete after your hip flexor stretch to actively move your hip as you gain hip extension flexibility.
If you are having trouble tolerating this exercise in standing, you can also lie on your stomach or get on your hands and knees and extend your hip from there.
Being able to balance is important for safety and hip function while completing every day activities. Add these exercises to your routine to focus on building better balance.
Lateral stepping is a great way to build hip stability, essential for preventing falls and feeling safer with daily activities. This exercise can be started on the ground if indeed, otherwise use a foam pad for an increased challenge.
Marching in place is a great way to boost standing core strength and exaggerate your hip range of motion and strength. Plus, it challenges your balance.
Weight-bearing exercises like squat and lunges are great for building endurance and improving your joint health, but so is low-impact aerobic exercise. Here are some ideas of ways you can get moving that won’t aggravate symptoms.
There are many benefits of walking for arthritis including optimizing heart, cartilage, and bone health along with achieving weight loss goals. It is one of the simplest ways to get moving and your heart rate up, all you need is a pair of supportive shoes. Here are some tips for walking:
For anyone with moderate to severe hip arthritis symptoms, swimming as a great option. Whether it’s swimming laps, aqua jogging, or doing an aerobics class, the buoyancy and warmth of the water can support your joints while you exercise to relieve pain. Plus, swimming boosts joint circulation, reduces joint stiffness, helps with cardiovascular fitness and you should be able to tolerate more time in the water than other forms of exercise. Here are some tips for exercising in the water:
Jumping on a road bike, mountain bike, or stationary bike are all great options for low-impact exercise. This can equate to building leg and core strength without feeling limited by the onset of joint pain. Like any form of repetitive aerobic exercise, biking can help reduce joint stiffness and boost your overall fitness level and tolerance for daily activity. If balance is a concern, opt for a stationary option at a gym or your home.
Generally, low-impact exercise is more tolerable for anyone suffering from arthritis. However, there are benefits to incorporating at least some higher impact activities such as walking or even running and jumping. This is because it is now theorized that high-impact activities can stimulate more potential healing in the joint, as long as it isn’t overdone. Thus, there aren’t technically any exercises completely off the table when it comes to your arthritis. It will ultimately depend on your medical history. However, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Arthritis pain my deter you from exercising, but did you know lack of physical activity can have long-term consequences and worsen arthritis pain? Here’s what you should know about exercising for arthritis:
If you are struggling with exercise or are feeling unsure, consider working closely with a physical therapist to get a personalized treatment plan that optimizes your hip function for years to come.
Exercising with hip arthritis can feel daunting at a glance. However, the best thing you can do yourself is to take the first step and get started. As you make gains in hip strength, flexibility, and endurance, you will be happy you did as you experience better function and less pain. For any concerns or changes in your symptoms, always consult your orthopedic doctor or healthcare professional for further medical advice.
Resources:Hip Arthritis Products