A few weeks ago I shared a blog and video ranting about the "hip bursitis" diagnosis. It's a term that, in my opinion, is thrown around far too often and doesn't address the real problem at hand. To spare you from another rant, you can read my other blog about hip pain caused by "hip bursitis" here.
For those of you just joining our blogs or if you missed that past blog, I'll summarize; hip bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs in your hip joint. What bothers me about this "diagnosis" is that it does absolutely nothing to understand why there is inflammation in the first place.
There are a million things that can cause inflammation in the body. Even overeating citrus fruit or drinking alcohol can cause an inflammatory response. So make sure that your doctor is digging a bit deeper to determine the cause of your inflammation.
In my world of physical therapy, hip bursitis often presents as a blister in the hip. Due to misalignments and improper muscle movements, the hip bones rub and grind together in a way they were not meant to. Just like wearing a shoe that rubs on the back of your foot, eventually, a blister will form and it's pretty painful. So what's the hip equivalent of finding a shoe that fits properly and doesn't rub? Well, I would argue that it's finding the correct exercises to promote good alignment and mechanics of the hip.
If the hip is stable and moving properly, This should, in theory, keep the hip from rubbing in all the wrong ways. Below, you can watch our video for one of my favorite hip stabilization exercises.
To perform this exercise you'll need something like a yoga belt or belt that you'd wear. You'll also need something firm and stable to stand on like a stool or a stair. I recommend doing this exercise at the bottom of your stairs so that you could hold onto the railing for support if you feel off balance.
Stand at the base of your stairs or behind your stool. Put the foot of your affected leg/hip up on the first stair or on your stool. Take your belt and hook it under your hamstring and grab each side and pull upward (almost like you are trying to lift that knee up off the stairs with your belt. Holding the belt firmly and pressing that foot into the floor, you'll focus on weight-shifting onto the elevated leg. You should feel your hip stabilization muscles kicking in. See the video for more information on how to do this exercise safely and correctly.
Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, this school of thought only helps if this is truly the cause of your hip bursitis. There are many, many things that can cause hip bursitis and inflammation, so make sure you are thoroughly evaluated by a physical therapist or another medical professional. This ensures you're doing the right exercises for your case and not aggravating your condition.
If you gave this exercise a try, we'd love to know how it worked for you. Leave a comment below and let us know!
Remember, we heal smarter, not harder!
Dr. Justin C. Lin