9 Best Exercises For Hip Bursitis

Fitness, Pain + Recovery, Training Advice

By: // February 26, 2020

Hip bursitis is an irritating condition that can range from slightly bothersome to very painful. If you feel pain in your hip when you are lying in bed at night, or immediately when you stand up after sitting for a while, you might have hip bursitis.

Let’s explore this condition and look at the best exercises to treat hip bursitis so you can start feeling better soon.

What Is Hip Bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa sac. A bursa sac is a small, gel-like pillow that sits between your bones and their connective tissues, acting as sort of shock absorber. You have bursa sacs in your hips, shoulders, elbows, knees and heels.

The bursa can become injured through a fall or strained by repetitive use. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, two major bursae in the hip can become injured or inflamed. The more common condition of the two, Trochanteric Bursitis, is inflammation to the bursa covering the greater trochanter, which sits at the bony point of the hip bone. The other bursa located on the inside of the hip near the groin is called the iliopsoas bursa. When this area becomes inflamed or injured it is often called “hip bursitis.” Both are treated in a similar way.

diagram of hip bursitis

The symptoms of hip bursitis vary from person to person, but the most common are:

  • Hip pain that is sharp at first and then becomes aching over time
  • Hip tenderness which seems more generalized in the entire hip area
  • Pain that gets worse after prolonged or repetitive activity
  • Leg pain that extends from the hip down the side or back of the leg
  • Pain or discomfort when climbing stairs, running or cycling.

Important note: if you have warmth and redness in the area along with fever or illness, you could have septic bursitis which comes from infection. Be sure to see your doctor!

What Causes Hip Bursitis? 

There are a number of things that can cause hip bursitis, from a direct fall on your hip to running too many miles. Let’s take a look at some of those things that put you at risk.

  1. Hip Injury: A traumatic injury or fall on the hip can cause hip bursitis.
  2. Repetitive Motion: You are at risk for hip bursitis if you do too much running, standing, bicycling or stair climbing.
  3. Leg-Length Inequality: Believe it or not, a surprising number of people have one leg that is slightly shorter than another (1.5 cm or more). This can affect your gait, causing issues similar to the repetitive use problem resulting in bursitis.
  4. Arthritis: Hip bursitis can come from arthritis. The same inflammation that comes with arthritis can extend into the hip bursa.
  5. Spine Diseases: Conditions like scoliosis can cause problems with the movement pattern of your hip and play a role in hip bursitis.
  6. Prior Surgery: Like spine diseases, prior surgeries such as implants or hip replacements can throw off your gait and movement patterns creating inflammation.

Related: How To Treat Hip Pain

Best Exercises For Hip Bursitis

It is always important to see a doctor in order to diagnose any condition and know the details needed to help fix your particular problem. However, specific hip exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip, and stretches can open up tight and painful areas of the hip. Many of these moves require no equipment, while a few of them require a resistance band to do the trick.

Here are nine exercises you can do at home to help treat your hip bursitis:

1. Glute Bridge

Equipment: None

Repetitions: 10-12. Hold for 3 seconds at the top, lower slowly.

This move engages your glutes, hamstrings, quads and hip flexors – the muscles that support the hips. In addition, you’ll stretch and open the hips flexors and front of the body overall.

2. Fire Hydrant

Equipment: None

Repetitions: 10-12 per side

The fire hydrant might look weird, but it’s an important exercise for tackling the piriformis muscle and strengthening the hip join as a whole. Unweighted, this exercise can be done by anyone and is great for increasing your range of motion.

3. Resistance Band Butt Blaster

Equipment: Resistance Band

Repetitions 10-12 per leg

Many of the moves that tackle our glutes can also put excessive stress on the hip flexors. This gives you an opportunity to isolate the glutes alone. (Be sure you don’t pull the knee in too far after pressing back; knee under hip bone is the start and end position.)

4. Resistance Band Outer Thigh Press

Equipment: Resistance Band

Repetitions: 16-20 total: 8-10 per side, alternating.

You abductors (outer thighs) need work in order to balance out the strength of the entire hip area. This move will take care of that and build strength in the core as well.

5. Forearm Side Plank

Equipment: None

Repetitions: Hold for 30 seconds each side

Isometric strength moves are extremely important for building strength and stability. The forearm side plank strengthens the outside of the hip and obliques.

6. Sleeping Pigeon Pose

Equipment: None

Repetitions: Hold for 30 seconds on each side

This stretch opens up outside of your hip, especially the piriformis

7. Seated Straddle Splits


Equipment: None

Repetitions: Hold 30-60 seconds

Open up your inner thighs with the amazing stretch.

8. Yogi Squat Pose


Equipment: None

Repetitions: Hold 30-60 seconds

This is a great pose to also add to the end of any workout. It will feel so good and your hips will thank you!

9. Inner Thigh Squeeze

Equipment: small pilates ball, volleyball or rolled up towel

Repetitions: 20

Lying on your back with your feet in the air and knees bent, pull your low abs in so your lower back is gently pressing into the floor. Now squeeze the ball or towel tightly between your knees as you pull your belly in at the same time. This move strengthens the adductors (inner thighs) which are typically weak and adding to dysfunctional hip movement.

Note: If this bothers your hip flexors, it can be done with feet on the floor and knees bent.

Final Step: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate (RICE)

You’ve probably been told to do this for an ankle sprain or a bruise on your shin. Bursitis is the same, although compression may not be possible and elevating might also be difficult. It is very important to rest the injured area until you don’t have pain. In other words, if running too many miles is the cause of your issue, continuing to run will only aggravate your condition.

In addition, ice the affected area a few times a day to help relieve inflammation and take anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen. In addition, once you return to activity you may need to modify what you were doing. For instance, run on a flat, even surface for a while.

Above all, if you have hip pain that is persistent or unbearable, please see your doctor. Treating hip bursitis with the proper stretches is great, but you should always get a medical opinion if pain of any kind doesn’t go away.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Exercises To Relieve Tight Hips

Printed from GetHealthyU.com


on October 27, 2020 at 8:48 AM Reply

How often is it recommended to perform the exercise?

    on October 28, 2020 at 3:47 PM Reply


on October 21, 2020 at 3:16 AM Reply

Nice article! Thanks for sharing this post with us. I found this post and very helpful for me. Thanks and keep sharing.

on September 22, 2020 at 3:47 PM Reply

I am a stand up paddler and the hip bursitis is really inflamed and painful if I try to continue. I cannot prone surf because of it either. Seems all I can do is swim now. I was wondering if the kicking action from body boarding with fins on would be too much stress on the bursa sac? i have pain on both the inner (groin area) and outer sides of hip. THANKS IN ADVANCE. seeing an orthopedic dr. next month

on September 21, 2020 at 2:43 AM Reply

I loved reading this. I am 72 and an above knee amputee so cannot do lots of the exercises but can do some. I fell on my prosthetic side a year ago, and hurt what must be this bursitis sac. Had physio, xrays but never told it could be this. Now I know what to do. Thank you. Penny(South Africa)

on September 20, 2020 at 12:01 AM Reply

What type of doctor diagnoses this problem?

    on September 20, 2020 at 9:06 AM Reply

    Great question - So doctors who treat hip bursitis would include your general-medicine doctor and/or family medicine doctor. An orthopedic doctor or physical therapist would also be someone that would look or diagnose something of this sort.

on September 18, 2020 at 8:39 PM Reply

I have so much pain I've become nearly immobile...I have arthritis and severe Fibromyolgia...I tried CBD oil and had a reaction..so now I take up to 6 Ibuprofen a day with daily use of a heating pad..which knocks my pain down to a 3-4 out of 5...(I've had 5 joint replacements) and can barely walk ( I use a walker) and feel hopeless...

on August 31, 2020 at 2:41 AM Reply

Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up...

on August 21, 2020 at 1:44 PM Reply

These stretched help give them a try. I think you will be surprised.

on July 3, 2020 at 4:17 PM Reply

Mine started out with piriformis and sciatic issues. Just as I was sort of better my work required me to stand and step only a few steps away from my work station for about 5-6 work hrs per day for about 8 weeks. I thought standing was actually helping the piriformis and sciatica which almost was gone, then this problem started. Now I am experiencing both at the same time. I gave up on running and only try to walk 2 miles or less total for a day. Stretches have been many that you have listed, but felt they aggravated more than helped. I would say 1/2 of my days as painless or minimal painful, but on occasion very painful. You never know! Should I give up on walking too?

    on September 18, 2020 at 9:17 PM Reply

    Hi there - so sorry to hear about this. I wouldn't give up just yet - but you may want to contact your doctor or a physical therapist of some sort to help with some of this pain. You may also want to see if things such as massages help or foam rolling? Some myofascial release might help. Things will get better but don't give up!

on May 20, 2020 at 7:23 PM Reply

Please try deep tissue message, it is painful at first but, it 😍.

(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
Send this to a friend