Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

5 exercises designed to help your hips after a trochanteric bursitis diagnosis

physical therapy for hip pain

Received a trochanteric bursitis diagnosis and in need of exercises to help your hips? Not exercising your hip muscles can weaken them, which can increase your hip pain. Physical therapy is a beneficial option for treating hip pain. A licensed physical therapist may recommend these therapeutic exercises to treat your trochanteric bursitis:

  • Glute bridge exercise — The glute bridge exercise is a therapeutic exercise that doesn’t involve medical equipment. This exercise can strengthen your hip muscles and can increase the mobility of your hip.

To do the glute bridge exercise, lie down, place your arms at your sides, and keep your legs bent with your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your stomach muscles as you move your hips off the floor. Keep moving your hips off the floor until you are in a straight position from your shoulders to your knees. Stay in that position for three to five seconds. Go back to your initial position for 30 seconds. Repeat each of these steps five times.

  • Clam exercise (side-lying hip abduction exercise) — Your physical therapist may recommend the clam exercise to reduce swelling in your hip. This therapeutic exercise can strengthen your gluteus medius muscle and can improve the balance of the muscles in your thigh.

To do the clam exercise, lie down on your side with the hip you’re targeting on top. Place your knees on top of each other and bend them at a 45-degree angle. With your feet touching each other, gently lift your top knee while keeping your hip from moving backward. Stay in this position for two to three seconds before going back to your initial position. Repeat these steps 15 to 20 times.

  • Reverse clamshell exercise — To do the reverse clamshell exercise, lie down on your side with the hip you’re targeting on top and bend your knees a little. Then place your arm underneath your head. Keep your knees together and move your top foot toward the ceiling. Make sure that your knees are touching the whole time. After moving your foot as far as you can, hold that position for one or two seconds. Then, slowly lower your foot back down onto your other foot. Again, make sure your knees are together as you lower your foot. Repeat these steps 10 times for each side.
  • IT band stretch exercise — The IT band stretch involves your iliotibial band. This band is the thick tissue that extends from your pelvis to your tibia (the bone between your knee and ankle). As the target area includes the outer region of your hip, this exercise can help relieve hip swelling and pain.

To do the IT band stretch exercise, lie down on the floor. Then bend your knees while keeping your feet on the floor. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Then move your left leg closer to your body by grabbing the back of your thigh and slowly pulling it toward your chest. Repeat these steps three to five times for each leg.

To do the seated pigeon stretch exercise, sit near the edge of your chair. Make sure to keep your feet flat on the floor, in front of your knees, and spread out. Then place your right ankle over your left thigh. The degree of the stretch depends on how close your right ankle is to your left hip. Be sure to spread out your toes. You can either stay in this position or put your hands on your hips and gently bend forward.

In addition to therapeutic exercises, your physical therapist may recommend joint mobilization. Joint mobilization represents one manual therapy technique. This technique involves your physical therapist using their hands to move your hip joint. This process can loosen the muscles in your hip, which can reduce your hip pain and make it easier for you to move your hip.

If you’re unsure which treatment will work best to reduce your hip pain, don’t worry. Your physical therapist will work with you to design a treatment plan to fit your individual needs and goals. A typical PT session will include multiple therapeutic exercises.

Trochanteric bursitis exercises to avoid

Knowing which trochanteric bursitis exercises to avoid can help you prevent hip swelling and your pain from worsening. If hip swelling and pain worsens, you may have even more difficulty walking and doing other daily activities. Here are key trochanteric bursitis exercises to avoid:

  • Exercises involving tilted positions — If you’re exercising in a tilted position, then you may be either leaning your body to one side or hunching over. Poor posture weakens your gluteal muscles, which can lead to hip pain and swelling.
  • Exercises involving deep squats — Exercises involving deep squats place too much pressure on your hips, which can worsen the swelling and pain in your hip.
  • Exercises involving leg lifts — Like exercises involving deep squats, exercises involving leg lifts place excessive pressure on your hips. This pressure can lead to hip swelling and pain.

Trochanteric bursitis causes

Trochanteric bursitis refers to the inflammation or swelling of the hip bursae, which are sacs filled with fluid that function as cushions. This swelling can lead to hip stiffness and/or pain when you move your hip. This can make it difficult for you to do daily activities like walking. Typically, the fluid released by your bursae prevents the bones in your hip from rubbing against one another too much. Therefore, if your bursae swells, then the muscles and bones in your hip may receive less support.

About 2 per 1,000 people have trochanteric bursitis pain each year. Here are three common causes of trochanteric bursitis:

  • Overuse of hip muscle — When you overuse your hip, your hip muscles can weaken, which can lead to hip swelling and pain. Overusing your hip muscle may involve repeatedly lifting heavy objects, standing for long periods, and climbing stairs. If you’re a runner or an athlete who frequently engages your hip muscles, you may be at risk for trochanteric bursitis. 
  • Hip injury — Injuries to your hip may include falling on your hip or bumping your hip against a hard surface. If you fall on your hip, then you may tear the tendons (i.e., supportive tissue) near your hip joint, which can produce swelling and pain in your hip.
  • Poor posture — If you repeatedly stay hunched over at your desk for long periods, you may develop poor posture. In other words, your body may naturally align in a curved position. One common condition associated with poor posture is scoliosis (i.e., having a curved spine). Poor posture places more pressure on your bursa, which can cause swelling in your hip.

Depending on the cause of your trochanteric bursitis, you may experience different levels of swelling and pain. While designing a physical therapy treatment plan, your physical therapist can identify the cause to maximize the effectiveness of your treatment.

Peak Performance can treat hip pain from trochanteric bursitis 

If you have hip pain, know that relief is available to you. You’ve already taken a big step by actively researching trochanteric bursitis exercises. 

At Peak Performance, we can help relieve your hip pain through competent, compassionate, and results-based care. Our licensed physical therapists can work with you to design a comprehensive treatment plan. The goal of this plan is to address both your current hip pain and ways to prevent hip injuries. For example, your physical therapist may recommend developing an active lifestyle and/or a healthy diet.
Call us or request an appointment today to learn more about physical therapy exercises for trochanteric bursitis.