If you are experiencing sharp pain in the front of your hip when running, or while pulling your knee to your chest, squatting, or doing other daily movements, you have come to the right place. Many websites tell you what hip impingement is, how to test for it, what to avoid, and what surgeries can be done for this condition. At CaliSpine, we aim to eliminate pain from hip impingement with proper movement patterns, tissue breakdown, and occasional adjustments. Our goal is to reeducate how you move in your daily life so that you can avoid those dreadful surgeries.
What Is Hip Impingement and What Causes It?
Most causes of hip impingement are due to a “deformity” of the femoral head or the socket that it inserts into (acetabulum of the pelvis). Boney structures and inflamed tissue will rub against the femoral head, causing a sharp, stabbing pain in the front of the hip. Movements that cause the thigh to flex (squatting motions) will grind those bony and inflamed structures together. We can stretch the muscles around the hip and strengthen the glutes and core to help stabilize and reduce the frequency of these structures grinding into each other. Ultimately, avoiding motions that cause a sharp hip pain are crucial for recovery.
Stretches for Your Hips
Hip Flexor Stretch
These two stretches should be done for 1-2 minutes per side for a few weeks. If your hips are very loose, you may only want to do them for 1-2 weeks as you may have too much mobility in the hip and not enough stability. Dancers and yoga enthusiasts often fall into this category.
As shown in the left photo above, tuck your hips under so that you have a straight line from the knee to your shoulders. Slightly shift your knee and hip forward to get an intense stretch in the front of the hip. If your back is rounded like the right photo, you will NOT get the proper stretch. Hold for 1-2 minutes per side each day.
Pigeon (Piriformis) Stretch
Do this stretch as shown on a table, counter, or bed. Your knee may be more bent than shown in the photo, and it may not be touching the table. This is fine as long as you feel a deep stretch in the piriformis muscle in the glutes! Again, hold for 1-2 minutes per side each day.
Strengthening Exercises for Your Hips
These exercises can be done every day if you aren’t too sore from the previous day. Do 2-3 sets of each in a circuit. Most of these exercises should be done barefoot!
This is a classic glute strengthening exercise used for rehabilitation, and as silly as it looks, it is the easiest way to strengthen weak glutes and stabilize the femoral head in the hip joint. Do 10-20 reps as shown.
Single Leg Balance
This is a fun one! Doing 1-2 minutes of balance on each leg proves to be a major challenge for just about everyone. If you find it easy, stand on a foam pad, bosu ball, or other unstable surface. This exercise is excellent for glute strength and hip stabilization!
The Glute Bridge
The Single Leg Glute Bridge
The difference between these two variations is obviously the difficulty. The goal for both of these is to strengthen the glutes. Before you drive your hips up, flatten your lower back to the floor. If you are doing the double-leg Glute Bridge, put a band or belt around the knees to press against, activating your glutes more. For the single-leg bridge, try to keep your hips level the entire time. If you are unable to do so, consider going back to the double leg bridge and do more clam shells!
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
The S/L RDL is another awesome exercise for hip stability and awareness. It will help to both loosen and strengthen the hamstring muscles. Do 10-20 reps per side. Try to keep your hips level with the floor and your toe pointed down to the floor the entire time. Keep your upper body and the elevated leg inline the entire time! Pretend you have a steel rod running from head to toe, preventing you from bending at any point. People often have trouble with balance on this one… hold onto something with one finger if you need assistance.
Questions or in pain? Let us know!