People with hip arthritis can use exercise as a way to improve their mobility and reduce pain and stiffness. However, certain types of exercises may worsen the pain.
The most common form of hip arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a common joint disease that affects more than
Exercises may provide various benefits, such as improving flexibility, building strength, and increasing the ability to move joints through their full range of motion.
This article explains the types of exercises that a person with hip arthritis should avoid and suggests other forms of exercises they could do instead.
There are certain types of exercises that people with hip arthritis should avoid.
Some exercises increase joint contact forces, putting the joints under
During exercise, the body produces force, which comes from weight-bearing and the foot contacting the ground. The forces travel upward from the foot, and the hip joint must absorb them to allow the body to regain stability and balance.
Exercises that people with arthritis in the hip may wish to avoid include:
Exercises with sudden changes in movement and direction
Sports and exercises that involve sudden stops and movements, such as tennis and baseball, put heavy stress on the joints.
Exercises on uneven terrain
This supports the findings of a
A person new to exercise should initially limit their workout area to smooth, even surfaces and avoid concrete and sand. Once they can tolerate these surfaces, they can gradually introduce surface changes.
High impact exercises
As the name implies, high impact exercises — which include activities that involve running and jumping — significantly impact the joints.
When a person is running, each strike of the heel on the ground puts a force equivalent to up to three times a person’s body weight on their feet.
These forces travel up from the feet to the knees, hip, and trunk, putting a lot of stress on soft tissues such as joints, tendons, and ligaments, as well as the bones and cartilage in the joint.
Prolonged standing exercises
Exercises that involve standing for extended periods put a strain on the joints, which can worsen pain.
A person can try doing exercises while lying or sitting down, or they can perform them in a swimming pool to reduce the pressure on the hips. Alternatively, they can take care only to perform standing exercises for short durations.
Strength training, which includes heavy weightlifting, can be helpful for people with hip arthritis. However, if a person does not perform the exercises correctly, weightlifting may worsen pain or cause further joint injury.
Lifting heavy weights with the legs puts a severe strain on the hips, so it is advisable for a person to start by using their body weight. A doctor or physical therapist may recommend progressing to light weights based on the person’s needs and capabilities.
Although people with hip arthritis may wish to avoid certain activities that can worsen pain and other symptoms, other exercises can help provide relief.
Low impact aerobic exercises
Low impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, elliptical training, and cycling, may help improve joint mobility and movement in people with hip arthritis.
However, people should avoid high impact aerobic exercises, which include running and jumping rope.
Regular stretching helps maintain a joint’s full range of motion and prevents the joints from becoming stiff due to lack of use or activity. It can also reduce the risk of injury.
A person should relax stiff joints before doing stretching exercises. They can do this by using heating pads or taking a hot shower.
Strength or resistance training is any exercise that uses a person’s weight or equipment, such as dumbbells, to build muscle strength, endurance, and muscle mass to create resistance against which their muscles can work.
Strengthening the hip muscles can reduce the load that the joint carries and minimize the forces it absorbs. Stronger muscles also help stabilize the joint.
Stretching the muscles that people strengthen is important for restoring range of motion and preventing injury.
Range of motion exercises
Similar to stretching, these exercises help improve a person’s flexibility and increase the range of motion of the hip joint. In this way, they can help improve a person’s mobility and physical functioning.
Hip arthritis is a permanent and progressive condition that damages the hip joint over time.
However, treatments are available that can help slow its progression, reduce pain, and improve or maintain a person’s physical function.
Hip arthritis can interfere with a person’s ability to perform daily activities. Exercise commonly plays a key role in the management of hip arthritis.
However, a person needs proper guidance and education to avoid doing exercises that can worsen the condition. Some exercises put greater strain on the joints, which can cause further pain.
A doctor or physical therapist can help a person put together a suitable exercise regimen.