Can physical therapy exercises improve bursitis in the hips?

When your hips are in pain, every movement can make you wince. There are many potential causes for hip pain, such as muscle stiffness or lying down on your side for an extended period of time. But there’s also a type of inflammation that can cause hip pain and limited mobility.

Bursitis in the hips can cause chronic pain that interferes with your ability to carry out your daily responsibilities. The good news is that there are several physical therapy exercises that can help. A physical therapist will walk you through safe and effective exercises to help alleviate your symptoms.

We’ll talk about what hip bursitis is and physical therapy exercises that can help. We’ll also discuss additional treatments that your physical therapist may recommend.

The basics of hip bursitis

There are fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that cushion your joints from the surrounding bones, muscles and tendons. When they become inflamed, it’s called bursitis. It can occur in nearly any joint of the body, but it’s especially common in the hip as well as the shoulders and elbows. 

There are two bursae located in the hip. One covers the point of the hip bone, known as the greater trochanter. The other is located on the inside of the hip near the groin, called the iliopsoas bursa. Hip bursitis can refer to inflammation of either one, though the area of the pain can be different. The pain from the greater trochanter is usually felt on the outside of the hip and along the thigh, down to the knee. Pain from the iliopsoas bursa occurs near the groin.

The main symptom of any hip bursitis is pain that worsens during movement. Hip bursitis is often caused by overuse of the joint or repetitive movements for an extended period of time, such as walking, climbing stairs or running.

Physical therapy exercises that can help hip bursitis

There are many techniques that a physical therapist can use to help alleviate the pain from your hip bursitis as well as improve the overall quality of the area for increased mobility and function. One of the first courses of action will be walking you through safe and effective exercises. 

Here are a few physical therapy exercises that you may be guided through during your hip bursitis treatment:

  • Clamshell — Lie on your unaffected hip and bend your stacked knees at a 45-degree angle. Lift the top knee while keeping your feet together. Hold for up to 10 seconds before returning to resting position. Repeat as directed by your physical therapist on each side. This exercise strengthens the glute muscles that help your hip joint function.
  • Glute bridge — Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor so that your knees are bent. Lift your hips while keeping your lower back on the floor. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat as directed by your physical therapist. This exercise strengthens your glute muscles as well as your lower back and core muscles.
  • Chair squat — Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip width apart. Bend your knees while bringing your hips down and back. Lower yourself until your thighs hit the chair but don’t sit. You can extend your arms in front of you for additional balance. Hold the position while squeezing your glutes before returning to the standing position. Repeat as directed by your physical therapist. This exercise strengthens the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes and quads.

Physical therapy treatments that can help hip bursitis in addition to exercises

While physical therapy exercises can go a long way in reducing your hip bursitis pain, there are additional techniques that may be included in your treatment plan. Your physical therapist will determine which treatments are right for you based on the severity of your symptoms, your medical history and your physical capabilities. 

Two common physical therapy treatments used to help hip bursitis are electrical stimulation and joint mobilization. Electrical stimulation involves sending electrical currents to the hip area to reduce pain, stimulate blood circulation and increase mobility. Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy technique that involves the therapist using their hands to gently move around the joint and stretch the muscles to loosen up the restrictive tissue that’s causing pain.

Armor Physical Therapy can show you physical therapy exercises for hip bursitis

Not being able to comfortably move your hips can interfere with everyday activities, such as going up the stairs or taking your dog for a walk. At Armor PT, we can show you physical therapy exercises to reduce hip bursitis pain and help improve your mobility.

Call us or request an appointment today to learn physical therapy exercises for hip bursitis. 

Quick Links


Schedule An Appointment

Get our Email Newsletter

No Fields Found.

Follow Armor PT