Hip Bursitis Exercises To AVOID by a Physical Therapist
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Hip Bursitis Exercises to Avoid

James McCormack
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Hip Bursitis Exercises To Avoid

The exercises that are best to avoid will depend on the inflamed bursa. A bursa will be particularly painful if compressed, so depending on where the bursa is will affect what actions and positions compress it.

In our experience, you should avoid these exercises if you have Hip Bursitis: 

  • Glute Stretch
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Deep Squats
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Outer Hip Foam Rolling
  • Single Leg Squats

Trochanteric Bursitis

The bursa will be compressed when the hip is flexed, adducted, or internally rotated. Walking, running, cycling, and many cardio exercise machines, as well as deep squats and lateral hip exercises, can all aggravate hip bursitis pain because of the compression caused.

For similar reasons, sitting with crossed legs, standing with a dropped hip, or lying on your side can also be very painful.

Ischiogluteal Bursitis

The bursa will be compressed when the hip is flexed, and the bursa is over the seatbone, so sitting is particularly frustrating and awkward to avoid.

This means any seated exercises, like a rower, recumbent bike, and some weight machines. Due to deep flexion, avoiding deep squats, bent-over rows, Romanian deadlifts, and sometimes bridging exercises should be avoided.

Iliopsoas Bursitis

The bursa will be compressed with hip extension as well as hip flexion. This bursitis is common with sprinters and hill runners as they flex the hip further than with flat and slower-paced running.

Therefore, sprinting and hill running should be avoided. Deep squats are likely to aggravate, as are resisted hip flexion movements.

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Hip Bursitis Yoga

Due to the varied positions of yoga, it can be difficult to be black and white about whether it is okay to do or not. It is best not to start yoga if you don’t already do it.

If you regularly practice yoga, it is sensible to see how you feel during and after sessions. It may only be necessary to avoid some particular movements or reduce the range in which you go with those specifically compressive of the bursa, such as crossed legs, lying on your side and standing on one leg.

Picture of 3 people doing yoga

Is Cycling Bad For Hip Bursitis?

Cycling is often an aggravating activity for bursitis. Ischiogluteal bursitis will usually be irritated by the compression against the saddle. Trochanteric bursitis may irritate some bike positions, especially more aerodynamic or TT positions. But for many, it is a well-tolerated exercise and can be a good alternative to running.

We are often asked, “Can I ride a stationary bike with hip bursitis?” the answer will depend on which bursa is inflamed and the level of irritability of that bursa. The main difference is many static bikes are quite upright so that they will put more pressure on the seat bones and the ischiogluteal bursa.

Is Walking Good For Hip Bursitis?

In our experience, walking can aggravate hip bursitis. In particular, if you have a narrow gait or weak lateral gluteal muscles. These are the gluteus medius and minimus, which can control pelvis stability when standing on a single leg.

If these are weak, you can have a pelvis drop, which will adduct the leg and compress the bursa. If these muscles are strong, walking is usually not a major problem.

Picture of People Walking

Can I run with Hip Bursitis?

Similar to walking, it mainly depends on the level of irritability, how narrow your gait is and how stable your pelvis is, relating to the strength of the gluteal muscles.

Many regular runners can continue running at a modified intensity, frequency, and duration, but if you do not already run, it is best to fully recover from bursitis before taking up running.

Related Article: Hip Pain Diagram


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