Hip Arthritis: Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of exercises for hip arthritis. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Straight-leg raises to the outside

Picture of how to do the straight-leg raise to the outside
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slide 1 of 9, Straight-leg raises to the outside,
  1. Lie on your side, with your affected hip on top.
  2. Tighten the front thigh muscles of your top leg to keep your knee straight.
  3. Keep your hip and your leg straight in line with the rest of your body, and keep your knee pointing forward. Do not drop your hip back.
  4. Lift your top leg straight up toward the ceiling, about 30 centimetres off the floor. Hold for about 6 seconds, then slowly lower your leg.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.

Straight-leg raises to the inside

Picture of how to do the straight-leg exercise to the inside
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slide 2 of 9, Straight-leg raises to the inside,
  1. Lie on your side with your affected hip on the floor.
  2. You can either prop up your other leg on a chair, or you can bend that knee and put that foot in front of your other knee. Do not drop your hip back.
  3. Tighten the muscles on the front thigh of your bottom leg to straighten that knee.
  4. Keep your kneecap pointing forward and your leg straight, and lift your bottom leg up toward the ceiling about 15 centimetres. Hold for about 6 seconds, then lower slowly.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.

Hip hike

Picture of how to do the hip hike
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slide 3 of 9, Hip hike,
  1. Stand sideways on the bottom step of a staircase, and hold on to the banister or wall.
  2. Keeping both knees straight, lift your good leg off the step and let it hang down. Then hike your good hip up to the same level as your affected hip or a little higher.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  4. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 3, even if only one hip is sore.

Bridging

Picture of how to do the bridging exercise
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slide 4 of 9, Bridging,
  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent. Your knees should be bent about 90 degrees.
  2. Then push your feet into the floor, squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips off the floor until your shoulders, hips, and knees are all in a straight line.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds as you continue to breathe normally, and then slowly lower your hips back down to the floor and rest for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Hamstring stretch (lying down)

Picture of how to do the hamstring stretch (lying down)
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slide 5 of 9, Hamstring stretch (lying down),
  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. If you feel discomfort in your back, place a small towel roll under your lower back.
  2. Holding the back of your affected leg, lift your leg straight up and toward your body until you feel a stretch at the back of your thigh.
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  5. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 4, even if only one hip is sore.

Standing quadriceps stretch

Picture of how to do the quadriceps stretch (standing)
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slide 6 of 9, Standing quadriceps stretch,
  1. If you are not steady on your feet, hold on to a chair, counter, or wall. You can also lie on your stomach or your side to do this exercise.
  2. Bend the knee of the leg you want to stretch, and reach behind you to grab the front of your foot or ankle with the hand on the same side. For example, if you are stretching your right leg, use your right hand.
  3. Keeping your knees next to each other, pull your foot toward your buttock until you feel a gentle stretch across the front of your hip and down the front of your thigh. Your knee should be pointed directly to the ground, and not out to the side.
  4. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.

Hip rotator stretch

Picture of how to do the hip rotator stretch
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slide 7 of 9, Hip rotator stretch,
  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put the ankle of your affected leg on your opposite thigh near your knee.
  3. Use your hand to gently push your knee away from your body until you feel a gentle stretch around your hip.
  4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5, but this time use your hand to gently pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder.
  7. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 6, even if only one hip is sore.

Knee-to-chest

Picture of how to do the knee-to-chest exercise
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slide 8 of 9, Knee-to-chest,
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your affected leg to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor (or keeping the other leg straight, whichever feels better on your lower back).
  3. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Relax, and lower the knee to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.
  7. To get more stretch, put your other leg flat on the floor while pulling your knee to your chest.

Clamshell

Picture of how to do the clamshell exercise
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slide 9 of 9, Clamshell,
  1. Lie on your side, with your affected hip on top. Keep your feet and knees together and your knees bent.
  2. Raise your top knee, but keep your feet together. Do not let your hips roll back. Your legs should open up like a clamshell.
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower your knee back down. Rest for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 5, even if only one hip is sore.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: March 21, 2017