We’ve all been there. We stretch or exercise the wrong way and we end up with a pulled muscle. The pain afterward can be an incredible nuisance. When ice or heat won’t do the trick, try these stretches to reduce hip and other joint pain.
A standing stretch may help to keep the hip flexors loose and helps to prevent further injuries.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes forward.
- Bend your right knee, and bring your right heel up toward your butt.
- Hold your right foot with the right hand, and gently pull to point your knee toward the floor. You can hold on to a counter or chair with your left hand for balance.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on your other leg.
According to Very Well Fit, hip extensions are exercises when we open our hip joints. This hip extension helps to strengthen the hip muscles instead of simply stretching them. These types of exercises and stretches use the gluteus maximus (butt), biceps femoris (back of the thigh and hamstrings), and erector spinae (the spine). Medical News Today instructs readers this is how to do a hip extension correctly:
To perform hip extensions:
- Stand upright with the legs straight and the feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend both arms out in front and hold on to a chair, table, or wall for support.
- Keeping the right leg straight, lift the left leg backward without bending the knee.
- Lift the leg as far as possible without causing discomfort, then clench the buttock tightly and hold the position for 5 seconds.
Do this 5-10 times on each leg.
External Hip Rotation
If you want to stretch your hip muscles and make sure that they aren’t in pain, you can do these external hip rotations to help stretch the muscles.
To perform external hip rotations:
- Sit on the floor with both legs out in front.
- Bend the legs at the knees and press the soles of the feet together.
- Place a hand on top of each knee and gently push them both down toward the floor. Apply pressure to the knees until there is a stretch, but do not push them further than is comfortable.
- Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and then relax.
Repeat the stretch 5–10 times.
The kneeling stretch is not recommended for those who have knee problems as you will have to use your knee to hold most of your body weight. Here is the best way to do the exercise:
- Kneel with your left knee on the floor and your right leg at a 90-degree angle in front of you.
- Put your hands on your right knee and keep your back straight.
- Keeping your left knee pressed to the floor, lean forward into your right hip while squeezing the muscles in your left buttocks.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Just as the exercise implies, your body will look like a bridge when you do this hip exercise. Medical News Today warns, “People who experience hip pain or discomfort for more than an hour following these exercises should reduce the number of repetitions accordingly.”
To perform a bridge:
- Lie on the back, bending both legs at the knee and placing the feet flat on the floor. Keep the arms by the sides of the body with the palms facing downward. If necessary, place a small pillow underneath the neck and head for support.
- Slowly lift the pelvis and lower back upward. Be sure to keep the shoulders and upper body on the floor.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Gradually lower the back and pelvis toward the floor, starting at the top of the spine. Roll down through the spine until the entire back is flat against the floor again.
Repeat this exercise 5–10 times.