Bursitis is a common complication of osteoarthritis. In this article, we present 6 exercises that are suitable for seniors due to their low intensity and people who have health problems like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.
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Definition and Cause
Hip bursitis is inflammation of the tiny membrane that covers the head of the hip bone, which is called the labrum. This ligamentous cover “fits” around the top of your hip bone and helps to keep it snug in your hip socket. As the hip joint gets older, the labrum becomes more loose or floppy and can wear down through years of normal use. That’s when you start feeling pain in your groin when bending over.
Even if the hip joint itself is healthy, the labrum may get inflamed for several reasons, including:
- Pressed too hard against your hip socket when you’re sitting or standing
- Repeated trauma to the area (such as from sports)
- Excess weight on your hip
- Autoimmune disease
- Kidney disease
- Vitamin B12 deficiency that causes nerve damage
The good news about hip bursitis is that it’s fixable by strengthening your hips and glutes to keep your labrum in place. In addition, the big problem is that most people over 40 don’t pay much attention to their hips and take a lot of fitness and diet risks without realizing it. So we’ve focused on exercises for everyone over 40, though anyone can benefit from them.
6 Best Exercises for Hip Bursitis
If you are dealing with bursitis or arthritis, you should understand that these conditions need to be managed through physical therapy. If not, your condition can quickly worsen and become more difficult to control.
However, even if you are undergoing physical therapy treatments, there are some exercises that can help alleviate bursitis symptoms both at home or in the office. These exercises are perfect for seniors who want to stay active and maintain their independence as they age.
Standing IT Band Stretch
This exercise is designed to stretch the iliotibial band, which is a tendon-like structure that runs the length of your body from your hip to the knee. It connects your hip muscles with your thigh bones, helping to extend, straighten your leg, and helps to relieve pain caused by inflammation in the bursae of your hips.
Stand upright, with your legs together and arms at your sides. Bend forward at the waist until you feel a good stretch down your thighs. Maintain good posture throughout the exercise, with your head up and chest out. Do not bend your knees or lift your feet off of the ground. Hold for 15 seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating for 2 more sets of 12 repetitions. The above exercises can be done at home, without any special equipment.
This exercise helps to stretch out the hip bursae, which are small sacs of fluid found in the hollow areas on either side of the hip joint, where your thigh bones attach with bones in your pelvis. This exercise will provide relief for most problems related to bursitis.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about 6 inches (15 cm) away. Tighten your abdominal muscles, raise your buttocks off the floor, and pull your knees further to the side. Increase the stretch by lifting one knee off of the ground and pulling it towards you until you feel a good stretch in the buttock of that leg. Hold for 15 seconds before taking it back to starting position and repeating with another leg. Do 2 sets of 12 repetitions on each leg.
Lying Leg Raises
Lying leg raises are an effective exercise that is commonly used for bursitis. Lying leg raises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles of the thigh, good for knee pain.
Lie face-up on the floor on your back, with your arms stretched overhead and legs straight on the floor. Slowly lift both legs to a 90-degree angle, and then lower them back to the floor. Make sure that your knees remain straight throughout the movement. You can use either leg for this exercise. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Prone Hip Extension
Prone hip extension stretches out the bursae in the back of your hip, which is a common site for pain due to bursitis. It is a very effective exercise for this type of problem and can be done from a lying position or from a sitting position.
Lie on your stomach with your back straight. Your arms should be outstretched along the floor and your chin can be on a towel or pillow. Push one knee out to the side to create a stretch in the buttock of that leg. Hold for 15 seconds before returning it to starting position and repeating with the other leg. Make sure to keep your knee locked out the whole time. Do 2 sets of 12 repetitions on each side.
Lying Leg Circles
This exercise is very effective for improving mobility in your hip bursae, also known as the hip joints. It helps to stretch the thigh muscles as well as those of your hips and lower back.
Lie on one side of the floor and move your knees outward and apart until you feel a good stretch on both sides of your hips. Make sure that your shoulder blades keep their natural arch and the backs of your knees do not touch the floor. Keeping your knees apart, move them in circles until you feel a good stretch in your hip bursae on both sides. Do 2 sets of 20 repetitions on each side.
This exercise is great for improving balance, range of motion in the hip joint, and strengthening knee muscles.
Begin on your hands and knees on the floor, your hands directly beneath the shoulders, and knees under the hips. Then tightening your core and then lifting your leg away from your body, otherwise known as abducting the knee away from the body. Keeping the knee flexed at a 90-degree angle, you’ll move the knee away from the body approximately 45 degrees. While completing this exercise, maintain stability over the hands, trying to resist any motion from side to side. Keeping your shoulders above your hands, try not to sag at your waist or your abdomen. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to choose an exercise program that focuses on pain relief, not rehabilitation. Arthritis is a condition that leads to chronic pain because the patient’s movement can actually cause further harm to their joints. For this reason, seniors are encouraged not to do exercises that are too strenuous or push too much weight. It will only lead to more discomfort.
These exercises are designed for seniors who need to strengthen their joints and increase blood flow to the affected areas. The exercises will help to improve their mobility and prevent further bursitis problems.
To help prevent problems with bursitis you should do the following:
- Warm-up properly before any exercise, to get ready for the weight-bearing exercise.
- Maintain good posture at all times. When standing or sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent when exercising.
- Don’t forget to stretch your hip after sitting for a while.
- Limit the amount of time that you sit during the day.
- Be careful where you place your feet when you are doing exercises. Take care not to put pressure on the bursa in your foot with a hard floor or a hard mat, or stand on it for a long time.
- Do not do the above exercises if you have a recent injury, are pregnant, have an infection, are taking pain relievers, or have osteoporosis. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
There are several exercises that you can do to help eliminate bursitis. Some of them are more effective for one type of bursitis than others. You have to judge for yourself which ones are appropriate for your situation. And don’t forget, prevention is your best defense against bursitis! If you are unsure of which ones would be best for you, consult your doctor or physical therapist.
Why should I do these exercises?
The most common areas for inflammation include the elbows and knees. Doing these exercises will help reduce swelling which decreases pain levels making it easier to perform daily tasks
When do I start doing these exercises?
Once you have seen your physician, get an x-ray or MRI, you are often advised to begin physical therapy. Your doctor may recommend doing these exercises daily while you are in physical therapy
How do I start these exercises?
It’s best to start these bursitis exercises lying down. The first exercise is an easy stretch of your arms. This increases the range of motion and strengthens the shoulder muscles. If the pain is extreme, you should continue with this exercise until the pain goes away and then stop.
How often should I do them?
Three times a day and in the morning after swelling has occurred and before it increases.
How long before I feel some relief?
After a few days, most people will see some relief of pain and inflammation of affected joints. It takes about two weeks for maximum benefits of the bursitis exercises to begin working on swollen joints.
Is there anything that I should not do?
These exercises are not meant to hurt. If you experience pain, stop immediately. Do not continue with the pain decreasing exercise until it goes away. It is likely that you will cause further damage if you do continue despite the pain.