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Hip Pain Exercise and Treatment

Individuals of any age can suffer from hip pain for different reasons. Read this article to find out why your hip might be hurting and learn about hip pain exercises and hip pain treatments.

If you are of older age, you could be more vulnerable to age-related hip issues like hip arthritis (= inflammation of the hip joint) or trochanteric bursitis (= inflammation of fluid-filled pocket near hip joint). These can result in functional limitations to everyday tasks, such as walking, sit-to-stand movements, single leg standing, negotiating stairs or, in severe cases, even sleeping. Hip pain in older people can also result in reduced balance. Allied health supported hip pain exercises can help reduce the pain and regain your balance.

If you are younger and enjoy sports, then sports-related hip issues may be the causing you pain. Especially if the pain occurs after running, jumping or landing movements, which can cause issues due to biomechanical deficits and subtle hip weakness. There are certain hip injuries that can cause hip pain. For example:

      • Labral tears (tear in then cartilage that cushions the hip joint)
      • Hip impingement syndrome (excessive wearing of the ball and/or socket in the hip joint, generally due to abnormal shaping or deformation of ball or socket à can cause osteoarthritis)
      • Chondral defects (damage to the articular cartilage, i.e. arthritis)

Your hip pain might also be referred pain, which means it originates in other parts of the body. This can include:

      • Lower back problems
      • A fracture of the neck (top) of the femur (thigh bone)
      • A strained muscle
      • An inflamed tendon or other inflammatory conditions
      • An infection
      • Pinched nerves

You may feel pain on the side of your hip, in front of your hip or the pain may spread to your groin.


If the pain is caused by osteoarthritis, you may experience stiffness, tenderness when pushing on the joint, a grating sensation in your joints and muscle weakness.

If the cause of your pain is a bone fracture, you may also have swelling, deformity, bruising or loss of function.

If the pain is caused by an infection, the area could be red, swollen, and warm.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis.


Your physiotherapist can identify the mechanism of your injury and what areas are affected by assessing your symptoms and using physical examinations. Bases on the diagnosis, your physiotherapist can then design a treatment plan including hip pain exercises that meet your needs for a good health outcome and personalised hip pain treatment.

If you suffer from hip pain, you may benefit from physiotherapy to help treat your symptoms and improve your overall functional mobility. Your physio hip pain treatment may focus on decreasing or eliminating your pain, improving your hip range of motion and strength, and restoring normal functional mobility depending on your presentation and goals of treatment.

This can be done by using tailored hip pain exercises and other hip pain treatment including:

      • Patient education
      • Manual therapy
      • Flexibility, strengthening and endurance exercises
      • Functional gait and balance training
      • Electrotherapy modalities
      • Weight loss recommendation


Many people that are contacting us are worries about osteoarthritis, which occurs when the protective tissue at the end of a bone (cartilage) is wearing down. This wearing down of cartilage generally worsens over time and can cause pain in your joints, including your hip. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, you may experience the following symptoms:

      • Sharp, shooting pain or dull, achy pain in the hip, groin, thigh, knee, or buttocks
      • Stiffness in the hip joint which is worse after sleeping or sitting
      • Weakness of the muscles in the lower extremity
      • A “crunching” sound when the hip joint is moved, caused by bone rubbing on bone
      • Difficulty and pain when getting out of bed, standing up from a sitting position, walking, or climbing stairs
      • Difficulty performing normal daily activities, such as putting on socks and shoes

If you experience any of the above symptoms you might suffer from osteoarthritis, however we strongly recommend seeing a medial professional for an official diagnosis.


There are 4 stages of osteoarthritis

      • Stage 0 – Normal
        When the hip shows no signs of osteoarthritis, it is classified as Stage 0, which is normal hip health, with no known impairment or signs of joint damage.

        Treatments: No treatment is required

      • Stage 1 – Minor
        Stage 1 OA patients will develop very minor wear & tear and bone spur growths at the end of the hip joints. However, at this stage it is still unlikely that you will feel pain or discomfort.

        Treatments: If you are not predisposed to arthritis, our therapists will examine you to determine other possible causes of your symptoms and design a treatment plan that suits your needs.

      • Stage 2 – Mild
        In Stage 2, diagnostic images or X-rays of knee joints will show more bone spur growth and despite the space between the bones appearing normal, patients will start to experience symptoms of joint pain. Typically, the area around the hip joints will feel stiff and uncomfortable, particularly when sitting for an extended period, when getting out of bed in the morning or after a workout.

        Treatments: For this stage, our therapists may recommend a strict regimen of hip pain exercise and strength training for increased joint stability. Additionally, bracing may be used to protect the hip from further stress.

      • Stage 3 – Moderate
        Stage 3 is referred to as “moderate”, where there is obvious erosion to the cartilage surfaces which leads to a narrowing of the gap between bones. Bones will start developing spurs at the joints as they become rougher.

        Progression of osteoarthritis of the hip will show obvious joint inflammation which causes frequent pain when walking, running, squatting, extending, or kneeling. Along with the joint feeling stiff after long periods of sitting or when waking up in the morning, popping or snapping sounds may occur when walking.

        Treatments: Your GP may recommend Physiotherapy as part of your hip pain treatment, in addition to over the counter NSAIDs or pain-relief therapies. If these methods are not effective, you may be prescribed stronger pain medicine, such as codeine and oxycodone. Patients that have not responded positively to physiotherapy, tailored hip pain exercises, weight loss programs and the use of NSAIDs may be referred on to an orthopaedic specialist for review.

      • Stage 4 – Severe
        Stage 4 is severe. In stage 4 the joint space between the bones are considerably reduced, causing the cartilage to wear off, leaving the joint stiff. The breakdown of cartilage leads to a chronic inflammatory response with decreased synovial fluid that causes friction, greater pain and discomfort when walking or moving the joint.

        The advanced stage of the disease shows development of more spurs causing excruciating pain, which makes even everyday chores, including walking and descending stairs a challenge.

        Treatment: When pain is impacting on your functional activities of daily living with poor pain control, your Orthopaedic specialist may recommend surgery. Physiotherapy is important to prepare for surgery and can help with exercises after surgery to get you back on your feet and participate in the activities you love.


If you are experiencing hip pain or have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, feel free to contact us to find out how our physiotherapists can help you.



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