Squat is one of the most important exercises, which helps build explosive strength and power. However, if your hips hurt during squatting, you’re not alone – it’s one of the most common problems. How much the hips hurt can vary from a mild ache that quickly goes away to severe, debilitating pain that makes it hard to walk. The joints might feel stiff and tight, or there might be bruising, redness, tenderness, swelling and warmth in the area around the hips. Read on to learn more about the condition.
Why Do My Hips Hurt When Squatting?
Here are the most common reasons why your hips hurt.
1. Poor Ankle Mobility
Ankle dorsiflexion limitation is one of the most common causes of hip pain in squats. To put it simply, if the ankle doesn’t move appropriately, the motion has to be made up elsewhere, and it’s usually the hips. To test it, kneel with one leg on the ground. Position your front big toe with the width of one hand away from a wall. With good ankle mobility, your knee should be able to touch the wall without lifting your heel. If the problem is in the soft tissue, you will feel the pain in your calf; if it is in the joint, you will feel the pain in the front of the ankle.
2. Poor Hip Mobility
A lack of mobility in the hip can cause pain. To test this, lie on your back with one knee bent and the thigh vertical to the ground. Move the foot inward while keeping the thigh vertical; you should have 45 degrees of rotation without pain. Now, move the foot outward. You should have at least 30 degrees of hip rotation without pain. Do this with the other side. Any pain or problems with range of motion indicates hip mobility issues.
3. Poor Core Stability
This is another reason why hips hurt when squatting. With poor core stability, you will tend to arch your lower back while squatting. The lumbar will be tensed too much, which will cause excessive anterior pelvic tilt. This makes the hips bones pinch the soft tissues, leading to severe pain in the hip area.
4. Femoral Acetabular Impingement
Bony abnormalities, Femoral Acetabular Impingement, can also lead to hip pain. Also known as FAI, research has shown that it is quite common and can lead to severe pain; on the other hand, some people who have this problem may experience no pain at all. Fortunately, those who have trouble with FAI can manage this problem by correcting the previous conditions and by the perfecting the squat form.
How to Fix Painful Hips from Squats
If your hips hurt while squatting, immediately stop the activity. Rest, ice, heat and painkillers are recommended to relieve the pain. Take three to four weeks off from squatting to allow the area to heal, but if it doesn’t go away or happens every time you squat, it’s time to see the doctor.
While you are waiting for your hip to heal, these exercises can help strengthen it. Do them at least four times per week and continue other exercises that do not involve the hips.
1. The Banded Knee-Break Ankle Exercise
Do your hips hurt when squatting? Try this exercise to increase ankle dorsiflexion.
- Stand in a split stance.
- The ball of your foot should rest on a 10 lb. plate.
- Wrap a band as low on your foot as possible – this will stabilize the talus.
- Move the knee forward. This will promote an anterior glide of the tibia and promote better dorsiflexion.
2. Strengthening Inner Thigh
- Lie on your back and stretch out your arms by your side.
- Hold an exercise ball between your legs.
- Raise your legs until they are vertical to the ground.
- Squeeze the ball with your legs 10 times.
3. Strengthening Outer Thigh
- Lie on the side of your body that doesn’t hurt.
- Raise your leg six inches above the floor.
- Hold it for several seconds, and then put the leg down.
- Do this ten times on each side.
4. Hip Rotation Stretch
- Lie on the ground and put your arms at your sides.
- Keep the leg you want to stretch bent, with your foot on the floor.
- Rotate your leg outward. Stretch only to the point where it is still comfortable. Keep the position for five seconds.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times each side.
5. Glute Exercises
- Lie down on your back. Both knees should be bent.
- Place the towel roll between your knees, and then squeeze.
- You should feel the pressure in your inner thighs and buttocks.
- Squeeze for five seconds. Do this 10 to 15 times.
6. Hip Flexion Stretch
- Start this exercise just as you did the rotation stretch, with your knee up and your foot on the floor.
- Put your arms around the shin area and pull it slowly to your chest.
- Hold your leg there for five seconds.
- Release it slowly. Do this 10 to 15 times on each side.
Do your hips hurt when squatting? This video can help you understand how to alleviate the pain through more proper exercises.