If you’re suffering from hip pain, tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) may be the reason. You may experience trouble with normal activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a chair, or running.
Symptoms of Hip Tendonitis
The most common symptom people feel is hip pain that develops gradually. You may also experience:
- Discomfort or sharp pains when contracting hip muscles or your iliopsoas during physical activities.
- Hip stiffness after long periods of rest, such as in the morning or after sitting for an extended time.
- A pain level that lessens as you move throughout the day, but begins to worsen again later.
Hip tendonitis is often confused with hip bursitis. However, the two are different. Hip bursitis is when the bursa in your hip becomes inflamed. In addition, people also confuse tendonitis with tendinopathy. While tendonitis is simply the inflammation of the tendon, tendinopathy is when the collagen protein that forms the tendon degenerates.
Diagnosing Hip Tendonitis
Medical professionals, such as your primary care provider, sports medicine doctor, or orthopedist, can easily diagnose hip tendonitis (or hip flexor tendonitis) during a physical exam. They will look at joint stability, range of motion, and flexibility. The doctor will also look for ruptured or torn hip tendons and discuss anything that may have caused the injury.
In some instances, medical professionals may order imaging, such as MRI or x-ray, to determine if a hip fracture or severe tendon tear is causing excessive pain. After that, they’ll start a treatment plan for you.
Treatment for hip tendonitis depends on the severity of the condition. Many people can treat it on their own by resting and taking over-the-counter medication. However, if the discomfort persists, a doctor or physical therapist may recommend stretching and exercising as treatments for hip tendonitis. These exercises can help other conditions as well, such as hip arthritis.
Exercises for Hip Tendonitis
Try these stretches for hip pain relief at home. These stretches and exercises strengthen and stretch the muscles around your hip joint to increase mobility. They are a safe and effective way to relieve tendonitis pain.
- Lie on your back on a mat. Place your hands under your bottom or leave them down at your sides.
- Extend your legs in front of you, keeping them straight.
- Engage your core and twist your legs in and out above one another as if they were a pair of scissors.
- Do not lift your back from the mat.
- Hold each set for 30 seconds. Repeat for up to four sets.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Take one foot and step forward while keeping the other knee bent.
- Tighten your glutes, so they’re under your hips.
- You’ll feel a gentle stretch in your hip and your upper thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, and then release.
- Repeat five times and switch sides.
Hip Flexor Stretch Kneeling
- Kneel down on the floor on your right knee.
- Put your right arm up straight and move it back slightly.
- Hold for 30 seconds and release.
- Repeat three times and switch sides.
Lying Leg Circles
- Lie on your back. Extend your legs out in front of you.
- Engage your core and glutes to keep your lower back against the floor.
- Raise one leg about three inches. While keeping it straight, draw circles.
- Do five rotations with the leg before you return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat for 10 reps on each leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch Edge of the Table
- Lie flat on your back on the edge of a table or a bench. Allow your knees and legs to hang off the edge.
- Grab one of your legs at the knee and pull it toward your chest while letting the other leg hang down until you feel a stretch in your leg and hip.
- Maintain your position for 15 to 30 seconds then release. Repeat up to four times.
- Switch sides.
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your arms by your side.
- Lift your hips from the mat to create a bridge.
- Keeping your shoulders on the ground, engaging your core and your glutes, hold this pose for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Gradually lower your hips back to the ground.
- Repeat for a total of 15 to 20.
Lying Lateral Leg Raises
- Get in a side-lying position. You can either extend your arm to rest your head on it or prop yourself up on your elbow while keeping your forearm flat. Choose the option that helps you keep your balance.
- Keep your legs in line with one another, and raise the top leg off the ground approximately 15 inches.
- Still keeping your legs in line with one another, gradually lower your leg to just above the other one.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then, switch sides.
Standing Glute Squeeze
- Without locking your knees, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet pointed out in front of you.
- Squeeze your gluteal muscles, as if you’re about to move your heels away from the floor, without moving your feet.
- Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Relax between each contraction for a second or two.
- Repeat 10 times.
Isometric Hip Press
- Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor under your knees.
- Loop a resistance band or belt around your legs, slightly above your knees.
- Press against the belt using the outside of your legs.
- Keep your position for 10 to 30 seconds, then release.
- Relax, and repeat.
- Get into a sit-up position.
- Move your knees gently to the left, stopping when you feel your hips start to come up off the ground. Keep your belly button facing upward.
- Bring your knees back to center, then twist them to the right.
- Repeat for a total of 25 to 30 repetitions.
Recovery from Hip Tendonitis
Hip tendonitis is a painful condition that should subside on its own within 4 to 6 weeks, with plenty of rest and stretching. Performing a series of hip tendonitis exercises can help relieve pain.
If any of these strengthening exercises cause severe pain, stop doing them and seek medical advice from a healthcare professional such as your orthopedic doctor or physical therapist.