Hip Tendinitis Exercises: Simple PT-Recommended Moves to Help You Feel Better and Get Moving

Gentle hip stretching and strengthening exercises can ease tendinitis pain and help you stay active. Try these physical therapist-recommended exercises.

Published Date: Jun 14, 2023
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Hip pain can be confusing. Maybe it hurts when you move around or try to stretch your hip. Or maybe your hip feels stiff after you’ve been sitting at a desk for hours or when you first wake in the morning. While hip pain is different for everyone, all of these signs can be a possible indication of hip tendinitis (or tendonitis). “With tendinitis, inflammatory fluid can build up in the hip area when you don’t move for long periods,” says Courteney Kemp, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Hinge Health. “You might also have pain when using your hip muscles, even if you’re just going through the normal range of motion.” Rest assured that any stiffness or discomfort you have that’s due to hip tendinitis is highly treatable, especially with exercise and physical therapy.

Here, learn more about how to relieve hip tendinitis with exercises from our Hinge Health physical therapists.

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Our Hinge Health Experts

Courteney Kemp, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Dr. Kemp is a Hinge Health physical therapist with a special interest in fall prevention, post-operative orthopedic recovery, neurological rehabilitation, and movement optimism.
Jonathan Lee, MD, MBA
Orthopedic Surgeon and Medical Reviewer
Dr. Lee is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and an Associate Medical Director at Hinge Health.
Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is Hip Tendinitis?

Hip tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the hip tendon, the tough cord-like structure that attaches the muscles that surround the hip joint to your bones. Hip tendinitis can be mild, but in some cases it may cause pain, stiffness, and weakness in the hip region that impacts daily activities. For instance, it may make movements such as walking, climbing stairs, and standing up from a seated position more challenging. Of course, not everyone with hip pain has tendinitis, says Dr. Kemp, and not everyone with tendinitis has hip pain. 

Hip Tendinitis: Causes and Symptoms

Hip tendinitis can happen to anyone, whether you’re a hard-core athlete or someone who rarely engages in formal exercise. The most common causes are:

  • Repetitive use injuries. This basically refers to repetitive motions that your body’s not quite ready for at the moment. “Nine times out of 10, this is the cause, even in people who aren’t athletes,” says Dr. Kemp. “We see this in runners and cyclists, but you could get it as a result, say, of doing a lot of walking around an amusement park.”

  • Acute injuries. Whether you’re an athlete, “weekend warrior,” or just going about your normal daily activities, the key here is that your hip gets unexpectedly challenged by excessive force, like if you kick a soccer ball but weren’t quite prepared for it, says Dr. Kemp. 

No matter the cause, hip tendinitis may lead you to experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort that starts gradually and worsens over time

  • Pain or discomfort when you start to move your hip or stretch it

  • Stiffness in the hip after you’ve been sedentary for a while (such as first thing in the morning)

  • Pain that improves when you start moving

  • Pain that gets worse after activity

Hip Tendinitis: A Hinge Health Perspective

If your hip hurts, it’s natural to want to take a timeout from your usual activities, or assume “rest is best” for your body to heal. It’s not. At Hinge Health, our physical therapists routinely advise members that movement is medicine, because doing gentle strengthening and stretching exercises is actually what helps the tissues in your hip become more resilient to pain and injury over time. You may need to modify your activities a bit while you experience an uptick in pain — maybe you do brisk walking instead of jogging for a few days, or do a shorter yoga routine. But doing some activity, especially the exercises below, is better than none.

Simple Exercises for Hip Tendinitis

Get 100+ similar exercises for free

  • Seated March
  • Seated External Hip Rotation
  • Clamshell
  • Hip Flexion
  • Hip Extension
  • Hip Abduction

Research shows that exercises that stretch or strengthen the hip and surrounding muscles can help ease pain from hip tendinitis. “When it comes to tendinitis, the goal is to lengthen and strengthen the muscles in the affected area,” says Dr. Kemp. “By starting off slowly and appropriately loading the tissues, you can prompt the tissues to adapt and change so that they can eventually do what they were used to doing before.” The exercises above are often recommended by Hinge Health physical therapists for hip tendinitis.

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

PT Tip: Think Holistically

“When I see a patient with hip tendinitis, I start by conducting a thorough assessment and then develop a personalized plan,” says Dr. Kemp. “Nothing works in isolation. So when someone has tendinitis in one area, they often have compensation or weakness in another area,” she notes. A physical therapist can help you tease out which muscles are affected and give the proper interventions to address all those issues. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you.

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Hip Tendonitis. (n.d.). Beaumont. Retrieved from https://www.beaumont.org/conditions/hip-tendonitis

  2. Martin, S. (2021, September 22). Signs of a Torn Hip Labrum and What to Do About It. Mass General Brigham. https://www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en/about/newsroom/articles/signs-of-a-torn-hip-labrum-and-what-to-do-about-it#:~:text=Hip%20Pain%3A%20It%20often%20feels,catching%20sensation%20of%20the%20hip

  3. Oller, B. (2022, August). Bursitis of the Hip. FamilyDoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/condition/bursitis-of-the-hip/#:~:text=Symptoms%20of%20bursitis%20of%20the,be%20dull%20and%20achy%20later

  4. Hip Tendonitis Symptoms. (n.d). Southern California Hip Institute. https://www.socalhip.com/hip-tendonitis-symptoms/

  5. Frizziero, A. (2016). Conservative management of tendinopathies around hip. Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal, 6(3), 281-292. doi:10.11138/mltj/2016.6.3.281