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Hip Stretches

Hip stretches are designed to improve the flexibility around the hip joint and ensure that your hips stay functional, healthy and pain free.

The Hip Joint - Relevant anatomy

The pelvic and the femur bones form the skeletal structure of the hip joint. The head of the femur bone fits into the acetabular fossa, a socket on the pelvis, to form the hip joint. This ball-and-socket joint allows the wide range of motion in the joint.
The movements of this joint include flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and internal and external rotation of the hip.
Surrounding the hip joints are several large and strong muscle groups, make the major movements of the lower extremities possible.

Movement of the
thigh on the trunk
Movement at the hip joint
Muscles involved
Factors limiting
movement

Flexion
Head of the femur moves about a
transverse axis passing through both acetabula and causes the shaft to swing anteriorly
Psoas major, iliacus, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus,
sartorius
Thigh touching
abdomen,
hamstring muscle
tension if leg is extended
Extension
As flexion but opposite direction
Gluteus maximus,
hamstrings
Iliofemoral
ligament,
pubofemoral
ligament
Abduction
Head of the femur moves in the
acetabulum about an anteroposterior axis and causes the femoral neck and
shaft to swing laterally
Gluteus medius, gluteus minimus
Abductor muscle
tension,
pubofemoral ligament
Adduction
As abduction but opposite direction
Adductors, gracillis
Gluteus medius,
gluteus minimus,
other leg approximation
Medial rotation
Rotation of the femoral head in the
acetabulum about a vertical axis that
passes through the femoral head and
medial condyle
The neck of the femur swings anteriorly
Tensor fasciae latae, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus,
iliopsoas, pectineus,
adductor longus
Ischiofemoral
ligament
Lateral rotation
As medial rotation but opposite direction.
Obturator internus,
obturator externus,
piriformis, gemelli,
quadratus femoris,
gluteus maximus
Iliofemoral ligament

The hip joint is located in the middle of the body, so problems in this area tend to radiate and affect many other parts of the body. Problems around the hip joint can be reduced by paying more attention to strength and joint flexibility. Often pain in the hip or buttocks area is associated with poor hip flexibility. This is especially true after running or hiking along steep inclines or declines or especially following an injury.

The flexibility in the hip joint depends on several factors, including bony structure; muscle strength; stiffness of muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments; and anatomical restrictions.

These are some exercises designed to stretch the muscles around your hip joint.


Please note to follow the general guidelines for stretching exercises mentioned in the stretching exercises section.

 
Bilateral hamstring stretch sitting
Bilateral hamstring stretch sitting
 

Bilateral hamstring stretch sitting

  • Sit on firm surface with legs straight out in front.
  • Slowly bend forward at hips, reaching for toes.
  • Do not allow knees to bend.
  • Hold end position for 20-30 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Hamstring stretch with towel
Hamstring stretch with towel
 

Hamstring stretch with towel

  • Sit on firm surface with towel roll under buttocks with legs straight out in front.
  • Loop towel or belt around balls of feet.
  • Keep low back with proper curve.
  • Slowly pull forward at hips, towards toes until a stretch is felt.
  • Keep knees straight. Tighten fronts of thighs as you stretch.
  • Hold end position for 20-30 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Hamstring stretch standing
Hamstring stretch standing
 

Hamstring stretch standing

  • Stand in front of table with feet shoulder distance apart.
  • Place hands on table.
  • Bend at hips and tighten the muscles in fronts of thighs, keeping the knees straight.
  • Keep low back straight.
  • Hold end position for 20-30 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Karate Stretch
Hip adductors stretch in long sitting
 

Hip adductors stretch in long sitting (Karate Stretch)

  • Sit on floor with legs apart, knees straight.
  • Slowly lean forward until a gentle stretch is felt.
  • Hold, return and repeat.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Hip adductors stretch standing
Hip adductors stretch standing
 

Hip adductors stretch standing

  • Stand with feet apart almost as far as possible.
  • Shift hips to side and hold.
  • Shift hips to other side and hold.
  • You will feel stretch inside of your thigh and groin.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Figure of four stretch
Figure of four stretch
 

Figure of four stretch

  • Lie on back with legs straight.
  • Bring ankle over opposite knee and let knee drop to floor.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times
  • Repeat with other side.

 
Iliotibial band stretch
IT band crossed leg stretch
 

IT band crossed leg stretch
(Iliotibial band stretch)

  • Stand with arms at sides and one ankle crossed over the other ankle.
  • Bend forward and reach to toes.
  • Hold and repeat with ankles crossed the other way.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
IT band stretch in side lying
Iliotibial band stretch
 

Iliotibial band stretch in side lying

  • Lie on uninvolved side.
  • Extend involved leg backwards and slowly lower until a gentle stretch is felt in outer side if thigh.
  • Keep leg straight and rotated outward.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Iliotibial band stretch in half kneeling position
IT band stretch in half kneeling position
 

IT band stretch in half kneeling position

  • Half kneel next to chair as shown with left leg up.
  • Rotate kneeling leg outward.
  • Place left hand on muscles on side of left thigh.
  • Flatten back by tightening abdominal muscles.
  • Move hips forward and shift hips to the right until a stretch is felt in outside of right thigh.
  • Repeat for left leg.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
TFL Stretch standing at the wall
Tensor Fascia Latae stretch standing at the wall
 

Tensor Fascia Latae stretch (TFL Stretch) standing at the wall

  • Stand next to wall, about a foot away, involved leg toward wall.
  • Cross over the uninvolved leg in front, and lean hip into wall, as shown.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Four point kneel
Piriformis Stretch
 

Piriformis Stretch - Four point kneel

  • Position on all fours.
  • Place one leg under the other as shown.
  • Rock backward until a stretch is felt in the buttocks.
  • Hold stretch, relax and repeat.
  • Repeat stretch with other leg.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Piriformis Stretch in long sitting position
Piriformis Stretch
 

Piriformis Stretch in long sitting position

  • Sit with one knee bent, ankle to inside of extended leg, as shown.
  • Grasp knee and pull thigh across toward opposite shoulder.
  • Relax and repeat with other leg.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Hip flexors stretch lying
Hip flexors stretch
 

Hip flexors stretch lying

  • Lie on back on bed.
  • Slowly drop one leg off side of bed with knee bent.
  • Pull other knee to chest and hold with both hands.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Groin Stretch
Groin Stretch Supine
 

Groin Stretch Supine

  • Lie on back with knees bent, soles of feet together.
  • Slowly let your knees drop to floor.
  • Gently rock knees up and down, stretching inner thighs.
  • Keep movements very small, about one inch or less.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times

 
Quadriceps Stretch
Quadriceps Stretch Prone
 

Quadriceps Stretch Prone

  • Lie face down.
  • Reach back and grasp ankle.
  • Relax leg and gently pull ankle towards buttocks.
  • Hold end position for 10 -15 seconds
  • Repeat for 5-6 times