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Top 7 Exercises to Avoid with Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the bursae, the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near the hip joint. Common symptoms include pain and tenderness around the hip, which can worsen with movement. To prevent aggravating hip bursitis, it is crucial to avoid certain exercises that can increase stress and irritation in the hip area. In this article, we’ll discuss top 7 exercises to avoid with hip bursitis to help manage your symptoms and promote healing.

Understanding Hip Bursitis

What is Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons, and muscles near the hip joint. These bursae help reduce friction and facilitate smooth movement. When they become inflamed, they cause significant pain and discomfort in the hip area, affecting mobility and overall quality of life.

Common Causes:

  • Repetitive Stress: Activities involving repetitive motion, such as running, cycling, or prolonged standing, can lead to overuse and inflammation of the bursae. This repetitive stress can cause tiny tears in the bursae, resulting in bursitis.

  • Injury: A direct blow to the hip from a fall, collision, or other trauma can damage the bursae, leading to inflammation. Even minor injuries can cause bursitis if the bursae are repeatedly irritated.

  • Underlying Conditions: Chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes can predispose individuals to bursitis. These conditions often involve systemic inflammation or metabolic disturbances that can affect the bursae.

  • Poor Posture and Biomechanics: Poor posture, gait abnormalities, or improper body mechanics can place additional stress on the hip joint and bursae, contributing to the development of bursitis over time.

exercises to avoid with hip bursitis

Typical Symptoms:

  • Pain: The primary symptom of hip bursitis is sharp or burning pain localized around the outer part of the hip, known as the greater trochanter. This pain can radiate down the outer thigh and is often worse with activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or lying on the affected side.

  • Swelling: Inflammation of the bursae can cause noticeable swelling in the hip area, which may be tender to the touch. Swelling can also contribute to the feeling of stiffness in the joint.

  • Reduced Mobility: Pain and swelling can lead to stiffness and a reduced range of motion in the hip joint. This can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as walking, bending, or rising from a seated position.

  • Tenderness: The hip area, especially over the inflamed bursae, may be tender when pressed. This tenderness can help differentiate bursitis from other hip conditions.

  • Warmth and Redness: In some cases, the affected area may feel warm to the touch and exhibit redness, indicating significant inflammation.

Understanding these aspects of hip bursitis is crucial for managing the condition effectively. Recognizing the symptoms and causes can help individuals take appropriate steps to avoid aggravating the inflammation and promote healing.

Top 7 Exercises to Avoid with Hip Bursitis

Avoiding certain exercises is crucial to prevent aggravating hip bursitis and promoting healing. Here are the top exercises to steer clear of if you have hip bursitis.


  • Detail: Running puts tremendous pressure on the hip joint, leading to increased inflammation and pain. The repetitive impact can exacerbate bursitis symptoms and delay healing.

  • Alternative: Consider low-impact alternatives like swimming or walking on flat surfaces, which reduce stress on the hips while maintaining cardiovascular fitness.


  • Detail: The body’s position while bicycling, especially leaning forward, can exacerbate hip pain by putting pressure on the bursae. The repetitive pedaling motion can also strain the hip muscles.

  • Alternative: Opt for recumbent biking or stationary biking with adjustments to the seat and handlebars to minimize hip strain.

Deep Squats

  • Detail: Deep squats place substantial pressure on the hips, potentially worsening bursitis by compressing the inflamed bursae. This can lead to increased pain and swelling.

  • Alternative: Perform partial squats or modified squats that do not involve deep bending. This reduces pressure on the hips while still engaging the leg muscles.

exercises to avoid with hip bursitis

Leg Lifts

  • Detail: Leg lifts require strong hip muscles, which can put significant strain on the bursae, leading to increased pain and inflammation.

  • Alternative: Try exercises like clamshells or gentle leg raises with support. These movements engage the hip muscles without excessive strain.

Cardio Machines

  • Detail: Treadmills, stair climbers, and ellipticals can stress the hips due to their repetitive, weight-bearing motions. This can aggravate bursitis and increase discomfort.

  • Alternative: Use low-impact machines like stationary bikes with appropriate modifications to reduce hip strain and maintain cardiovascular fitness.

exercises to avoid with hip bursitis

Sideways Exercises

  • Detail: Exercises involving tilting the body to the side, such as side leg raises or side lunges, can worsen hip bursitis by putting additional pressure on the inflamed area.

  • Alternative: Focus on exercises that maintain a straight posture and emphasize core stabilization, avoiding movements that tilt the body.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • Detail: High-intensity, weight-bearing movements in HIIT workouts can put excessive stress on the hip joint, leading to increased inflammation and pain.

  • Alternative: Engage in low-intensity, low-impact workouts that avoid sudden, jarring movements. Gentle activities like yoga or water aerobics can be beneficial.

Tips for Safe Exercise with Hip Bursitis

Exercising safely with hip bursitis is essential to prevent aggravating the condition and to promote healing. Here are some tips to help you manage your workouts effectively.

  • Consult a Professional: Always consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist before starting any new exercise regimen. They can provide personalized advice and ensure that your exercises are safe and appropriate for your condition.

  • Start Slow: Begin with low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity as your hip allows. This approach helps to avoid overloading the joint and allows your body to adapt.

  • Focus on Flexibility: Incorporate stretching and flexibility exercises into your routine to improve joint mobility and reduce stiffness. Gentle stretches can help maintain range of motion and alleviate discomfort.

  • Use Supportive Equipment: Use supportive shoes, braces, or other equipment to reduce strain on the hip. Proper support can help distribute weight more evenly and minimize stress on the inflamed area.

exercises to avoid with hip bursitis


Q: What are the best low-impact exercises for hip bursitis?

A: Swimming, walking on flat surfaces, and recumbent biking are excellent low-impact options.

Q: Can stretching help alleviate hip bursitis pain?

A: Yes, gentle stretching can improve flexibility and reduce pain.

Q: How can I modify my workout routine to avoid aggravating hip bursitis?

A: Focus on low-impact exercises, avoid high-intensity movements, and consult a professional for personalized modifications.

Q: Is swimming a good exercise for someone with hip bursitis?

A: Yes, swimming is a great low-impact exercise that reduces stress on the hips.

Q: What signs indicate that an exercise is aggravating my hip bursitis?

A: Increased pain, swelling, and discomfort during or after exercise are signs to stop and reassess your routine.


Avoiding specific exercises is crucial for managing hip bursitis and preventing further irritation. Key points include steering clear of high-impact and strenuous activities like running, deep squats, and HIIT, while opting for low-impact alternatives like swimming and walking on flat surfaces. It's important to consult with healthcare professionals and listen to your body to ensure a safe and effective exercise routine. By taking these precautions, you can manage your hip bursitis and maintain your overall fitness.

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