Hip Exercises to Help Knee Pain - Really?

woman exercising

Now’s the time for all good runners to come to the track and run around it and around it some more.  If you’re hitting your training schedule hard, you may be experiencing knee pain (especially after a long winter of limited access to outdoor runs).

You may have dealt with knee pain in the past (especially if you’re a runner), but if you’re experiencing knee pain, it never hurts to check in with your primary caregiver to ensure you’re not exacerbating a serious problem.

But active people tend to know their bodily quirks reasonably well, so let’s assume this is something you manage with DIY solutions every year.  You may have a tradition of strengthening the large muscles which govern movement in the knees – quads and hamstrings.

But you should really be thinking about the muscles in your hips to help with knee pain and targeting those muscles with exercise.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Hip exercise to help knee pain – really?”.  But it’s a thing, especially now that a study’s been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which counsels precisely that.

The pivotal role of hip muscles

Weakness and instability in the hips can travel down the body, into the knees and even the ankles and feet.  For runners, this is of special interest, especially women runners, who encounter issues with hip stability more often than their male counterparts.

So, yes!  Hip exercises can help knee pain.  Really!

And on that note, here are some exercises to get you started on strengthening and stabilizing your hips to relieve pain in your knees.

Everybody move to the left/right

You’ll need a resistance band for this one.  Placing it midway between your ankles and knees, stand with feet hip-width apart.  Now, take a giant step left.  Continue for 15 seconds.  Repeat in the other direction.

This exercise builds strength in the abductors (outside of hips).

Dead lift

Balance is big issue and imbalance in strength between the left and right sides of your lower body can cause the knee of the weaker leg to hurt.  This exercise will help you restore balance between the two sides, by strengthening the quads and hamstrings.

Standing on your right leg, with your arms lifted straight over your head, lift your left leg so the thigh is parallel to the floor, bent at the knee.  The right knee should be soft, not locked.

Slowly bend from the waist until your torso is parallel with the floor, while straightening your left leg behind you. Do 10 repetitions, then switch sides.

Loosening it up

This stretch will serve to loosen the hip flexors and glutes.

Lying face up, place a foam roller under your rear end, with knees bent.  Raise your right knee to your chest and extend your leg from the knee.  Now use your hands to slowly guide the leg across your body to the left and hold for a count of 5.  Do 3 reps, then do the other side.

Knee still hurting?  Contact us and let’s fix it!

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