People always think that working out or exercises of any form will make arthritis worse, but that is a complete misconception.
The truth is staying without active, constant movement can make your arthritis worse. When arthritis affects your hips, moving around can become painful and burdensome. Still, when you try out the specific hip exercise for arthritis, your symptoms can start to improve, and it is medically proven.
Whether it is with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, exercise is an excellent way to manage your symptoms.
The key is to be consistent at exercising, which rings true for any form of arthritis.
How arthritis affects the hips
Arthritis affects all the joints in the body, although most often, it starts with the small joints of the hands and feet.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint like a lock and key model. The two bones that meet at this joint are the pelvic and thigh bones, which constantly run against each other when you move.
The cartilage helps to cushion and reduce the friction between the bones whenever you move. Osteoarthritis attacks this cartilage, resulting in wear, causing stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints.
In other inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the protective fluid in the joint called synovium, also resulting in cartilage wear.
How exercises help with hip arthritis
Exercise strengthens your hip muscles, which is significant to arthritis because having muscular strength means your muscles can take the extra brunt for your hip joints.
Muscle strength usually decreases as you age, and exercising builds your muscles, so it doesn’t wear down. The hip muscles block the strain your hip joint is supposed to experience as they take responsibility for most of the stress caused by movement and other activities.
This helps reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain with hip arthritis.
Exercises also help to improve mood, enhance your immune system, boost your energy, and control your weight.
Hip exercise for arthritis patients to try out
1. Knee-to-chest stretch
This particular hip exercise for arthritis helps to strengthen your gluteal muscle, which is the muscle found in the buttocks.
Lie on a flat surface, preferably the floor, with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend one of your legs at the knee, hold it with your hands, and gently pull it toward your chest as far as possible. Hold the position, switch legs, and repeat.
Bridging is a simple exercise to do while lying down.
Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor with your hands on the floor.
Hold the position as long as you can, rest, and repeat.
3. External hip rotation
This hip exercise for arthritis strengthens the hip joints. It might be difficult if you are not flexible, but you can start small and keep stretching.
While sitting down, bend your legs at the knees and bring the soles of your foot together.
Place your hands on top of each knee and push them toward the floor gently as far as you can. Hold that stretch for 10 seconds and repeat.
4. Heel slide
Heel slide is another simple hip exercise for arthritis.
Simply lie on your back on a flat surface, slide your knee toward your chest, and back down slowly.
Repeat and switch.
5. Double hip rotation
For this hip exercise, lie down with your knees together and your shoulders against the floor. Slowly rotate your knees to one side, lowering them toward the floor. Rotate your head and face in the opposite direction while ensuring your shoulders don’t leave the floor.
Hold this position for 30 seconds, and return to your initial position. Rest and repeat in the other direction.
6. Hip flexion
Hip flexion is a simple hip exercise for arthritis that you can do in an office or while waiting for a bus.
Simply stand upright, and raise your right knee to the level of your hip or as far as you can while keeping your left leg straight. Hold the position for 5 seconds, switch, and repeat.
7. Heel-to-buttock exercise
In a standing position, bend your knees backward toward your buttocks. Make sure to keep your knees pointed to the floor. If it is too hard to do, you can support your legs with your hands. This hip exercise strengthens your thigh muscles.
8. Knee lift
This hip exercise stretches the muscles around the hip joint and helps reduce stiffness and improve the joint’s range of motion.
Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Keeping your right leg straight to the ground, pull your left knee toward your chest and support with your hands above the knee.
Keep the position for 30 seconds and switch legs.
9. Hip extension
This exercise strengthens your buttocks.
Lie down on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. While relaxing your upper body, bend one knee at the 90° angle and lift the other leg straight up. Slowly lower the straight-raised leg and repeat at least five times. Switch the legs and repeat.
10. Quadriceps exercises
You can do this hip exercise in a lying position without much movement.
While lying, make sure your knees and hands are flat on the ground.
Push the back of your knee toward the ground using your thigh muscles while simultaneously pushing your toes toward your body.
Hold the position for 5 seconds, relax, and repeat.
11. Clock tap
This exercise helps the muscles of the legs and thighs and is great for practicing balance and stability.
Stand next to a wall and balance on a single foot. Use the balanced feet as the centerpiece of a clock, place the other leg on the centerpiece, and use it to tap around the hours on the clock.
Move clockwise and anticlockwise within your range.
12. Hamstring stretch
This exercise helps to stretch the muscles at the back of your thigh up to the back of the knee.
For the hamstring stretch, lie on the floor with both legs bent at the knee. Using a band, towel, or your hands behind your knee, lift one leg off the floor and bring it toward your chest. Straighten your legs and move your feet toward your head as far as possible, hold the position for 20-30 seconds, and switch.
13. Bodyweight squat
This exercise is a modification of the sit-and-stand exercise.
Stand with your feet shoulder length apart from each other, and while keeping your chest upright and your body weight shifted to your heels, gently lower yourself as if you want to sit on a chair, pushing your hips backward.
Go as low as you can while keeping your feet flat, and push back upwards by moving your hips forward. Repeat the process five times.
Benefits of exercise for arthritis
- Reduces stiffness
- Reduces swelling
- Maintains easy joint movement
- Strengthens the muscles
- Slows joint damage
- Improves moods
- Decreases the chances of other diseases
- Lubricates joint cartilages
- Strong muscles protect the joints
- Enhances balance
- Increases your energy
- Helps you sleep well
- Helps control your weight
- Enhances flexibility
An effective hip exercise for arthritis should target the muscles rather than the joints because you need to reduce the stress on your joints and maximize muscle strength instead.
If any arthritis exercise puts a strain on your joints, you have to stop it. The whole essence of exercises is to increase muscle strength.
Generally, arthritis exercises can reduce joint damage and your quality of life. You don’t have to deal with constant flare-ups and intense joint pain.
Do you constantly exercise with arthritis? What are the benefits that you’ve noticed? Share some lessons with us!