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7 Best Hip Impingement Exercises And Movements To Avoid

Exercises for Hip Impingement can relieve pain.

You’re probably here because you’re wondering: Why has my hip suddenly started hurting? You may have gone down the Google rabbit hole of research–or maybe you went straight to your doctor. 

Either way: you’re convinced that hip impingement is the culprit–causing you all that pain. 

Maybe you got off your bike and unexpectedly felt a sharp pain in your hip! 

Maybe it happened to you after a round of intense pickleball. 

Or maybe you were just sitting and working at your laptop–and a crippling hip pain stunned you when you tried to get up. 

However it happened for you: you’re in a pickle. Because you can’t just live with this hip pain. Something’s gotta give, and it can’t be your quality of life. 

The good news is: there are plenty of hip impingement stretches and hip impingement exercises out there to help provide quick relief for your hip impingement pain! Today, we’ll cover the best hip impingement exercises and stretches to get you fast relief from that hip impingement pain! 

Along the way, I’ll also recommend one of my favorite tools for at-home hip pain relief. 

What is Hip Impingement? 

Let’s start with the basics. What is hip impingement? And how do you know if you have one?

Your hips are pretty active if you think about it. Any time you walk, run, kick a ball, bend down–your hips get involved. And with all that movement, our bodies are designed to provide hips with a built-in cushion for what should be a painless motion! 

It helps to think of the hip as a ball and socket joint. The “ball” is actually the top of your femur–called the femur head. This bone forms into a round shape right as it meets the “socket” portion of your hip. 

The “socket” is an indented, concave structure at the bottom of your pelvis called the acetabulum, and to assist with the motion of this ball and socket, the acetabulum is lined with a cushion of cartilage–called the labrum. 

Genius, right? Except when things go wrong. 

Enter the scene: hip impingement. 

A hip impingement–or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI as the experts call it) happens when there is a bony overgrowth in the hip joint that causes irregular contact between the ball and socket. 

Obviously, when this happens: the effect is less than pleasant. When the ball and socket of the hip joint don’t fit together just right–you end up getting extra wear and tear on your hip joint–and the result is extremely painful. 

3 Types of Hip Impingement

Cam Impingement (Femur Issues): A cam impingement happens when the “ball” or femur head doesn’t fit perfectly into the hip socket due to an irregular shape–basically: it’s not round enough. This eventually leads to a bump–or cam lesion–that grinds on your labrum.

Pincer Impingement (Pelvis Issues): On the other hand, a pincer impingement is an issue with the “socket” or the pelvis end. The term used here is “overcoverage,” and this means that the acetabulum is a bit too committed to its job, and it overextends over the femoral head–causing the labrum to get pinched. 

Mixed Impingement: Unfortunately, one is not enough for some people–and in some cases, a combination of both cam and pincer impingements combine to create mixed impingement. 

Symptoms: What Does Hip Impingement Feel Like?

Hip Impingement exercises and hip impingement stretches relieve pain.

Hip pain from hip impingement happens when the labrum gets damaged from the irregular fit of the hip joint. This friction causes pain ranging from a sharp jolt to a dull ache, and most people experience: 

- Hip pain

- Groin pain 

- Thigh pain

- Stiffness 

- Decreased range of motion

- Painful clicking, popping, or snapping of the hip joint

- Pain with activity: climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car, athletic activity

- Pain with inactivity: sitting too long

How Do I Know If I Have Hip Impingement?

The best way to confirm that you have hip impingement is to go to your doctor. Diagnosis will most likely involve X-Rays or MRIs to confirm the impingement as well as what type of hip impingement is causing you pain.


Causes: What Causes Hip Impingement? 

Maybe you’re feeling fairly confident that hip impingement is to blame for your recent hip pain–and you're probably wondering: what the heck would cause this to happen? What activities cause hip impingement? Or is it something else? 

Surprisingly, the answer is not so straightforward. In fact, there’s still a lot of debate about what causes hip impingement. 

Frustrating, I know. But let’s explore some possibilities. 

First off: what’s crazy is that some people can have hip impingement without even knowing it or experiencing symptoms. Lucky ducks. 

If you do experience painful hip impingement symptoms, most likely, it is from the following: 

Congenital You may have just been born with a hip impingement. Some people born with hip impingement go years before they experience any discomfort from their hip. In this case, it could be exacerbated by sudden physical activity added into a daily routine–or just regular wear and tear. [1]

Acquired: Some people may develop hip impingement throughout their lifetime. This can happen at any age, but it is most common in active, younger people under 50 years old. [2] 

Athletic Activity: Hip impingement can also happen as a result of repetitive motions over an extended period of time–typically resulting from sports such as: 

- Football

- Soccer

- Golf

- Tennis

- Ballet

- Hockey

- Tennis

- Lacrosse [2] 


Treatment: How Do You Fix Hip Impingement? 

Your first step should always be to go straight to your doctor if you suspect you have hip impingement. Your doctor can help you decide if physical therapy or surgery are good options for your healing process. 

Today, we’ll explore some hip impingement exercises and hip impingement stretches you can complete from home that should provide hip pain relief. 


Hip Impingement Exercises to Avoid

The deep squat is one of the hip impingement exercises to avoid.

Hopefully from this information, you can begin piecing the puzzle together about what’s happening to your hip and why. Once you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably wondering: what hip impingement exercises should I try and which exercises should I avoid? 

Let’s start with hip impingement exercises to avoid–because there are a few that you’ll want to steer clear from! Basically, any movement that involves lifting your knee up to your chest is one you should avoid at all costs! Some examples of this are: 

- Deep Squats 

- Lunges 

- High Knees

- Kicking  

- Deadlifts 

- Leg Presses 

In addition to this, you may want to be careful when performing some daily motions, such as: 

- Getting in and out of your car

- Putting your socks on

- Putting your shoes on

- Tying your shoes 

The 7 Best Hip Impingement Exercises   

Thankfully, it’s not all about what you can’t do, and there are plenty of hip impingement stretches and hip impingement exercises that you can add in to your workout routine, which have a high likelihood of helping! 

Hip Impingement Exercise #1: Hip Flexor Stretch

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise:

  1. Kneel on a yoga mat. 
  2. Whatever side your painful hip is on, keep this knee on the floor. 
  3. Lift your other knee up in front of you, bending it and placing this foot flat on the floor. You should now be in a half-kneeling position. 
  4. Shift your hips forward, allowing your front knee to bend into the stretch. 
  5. Keep a good posture as you perform this motion–with your chest high, core tight, and glute muscles tight. 
  6. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. 
  7. Return to the starting position, and repeat 3-5 times. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #2: Piriformis Stretch 

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. Lie on a yoga mat, and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Whatever side of your hip is painful, bend that knee, bringing your ankle over the opposing thigh. 
  3. With both hands, gently bring that same thigh towards your chest, allowing a slight pull on the thigh as you bring it towards you. Go as far as feels comfortable. 
  4. Hold for 15-20 seconds. 
  5. Return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat 3-5 times. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #3: Seated Piriformis Stretch

Seated Piriformis Stretch is a hip impingement exercise

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Select the leg on the same side as your hip impingement. Bend this leg, bringing your ankle up to the opposing knee. 
  3. For an extra stretch hold your knee down with your hands. 
  4. Bend your torso forward, allowing your hip and glutes to stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds. 
  5. Return to starting position. 
  6. Repeat 3-5 times. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #4: Bridge

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat. 
  2. Bring your knees up, keeping your feet flat on the floor. 
  3. Squeeze your glutes, pushing through your feet to lift your hips off the floor–forming a line from your hips to your knees. 
  4. Hold for 20-30 seconds. 
  5. Return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat for 10-25 reps. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #5: Clamshell 

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. Lie on your side on a yoga mat, supporting your head with your arm. 
  2. Your legs should be stacked on top of one another–with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. 
  3. Keeping your feet together, lift the top leg as high as is comfortable. 
  4. Pause at the top briefly. 
  5. Then return to the starting position. 
  6. Complete up to 20 reps on each side. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #6: Bird Dog

Bird dog is one of the best hip impingement exercises

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. On a yoga mat, get on your hands and knees. 
  2. Simultaneously lift your right leg and your left arm–forming a straight line with your back. 
  3. Hold your right leg and left arm out for a brief pause. Then return to the starting position. 
  4. Now lift your left leg and right arm, and repeat the motion. 
  5. Repeat for 8-12 reps. 

Hip Impingement Exercise #7: BOSU Single-Leg Balance

How to Perform This Hip Impingement Exercise: 

  1. You’ll need a BOSU ball for this exercise. Flip the BOSU ball, so the softer side is on the ground and the flatter side is on top. (You can use it either way, but most people find this way easier.) 
  2. Stand with one foot on the BOSU ball, bending the opposing knee to bring the other foot up in the air. 
  3. Hold for 30 seconds. You can choose to keep your arms out for extra support–or hold them behind your back for more of a challenge. 
  4. Repeat on the other side. 

    Using Massage Tools in Addition to Hip Impingement Exercises

    If you’re here you’re probably really sick of the hip pain you’ve been experiencing because–let’s face it–hip impingements are the worst. 

    Looking for more ways than exercise to help lessen your pain? I recommend using an at-home massage device designed specifically for the hip and pelvic region. 

    My personal favorite: the QL Claw

    The Ql Claw can be used in addition to hip impingement exercises!

    I’m a bit biased because our founder created this little masterpiece, but if you don’t believe me: let the reviews speak for themselves: 

    Take it from one customer–a former nurse: 

    Hip Impingement Exercise Review for the QL Claw

    Just one day and 80 percent better? Sounds like a no-brainer. 

    But just how does the QL work, you ask? 

    1. The claw shape of this device hits trigger points when you lay on it. 
    1. Position the claw on your trigger point, lay down, and let the claw do what it does best. 
    1. It’s an on-the-go tool–meaning you could even bring it in with you to work when your hip impingement pain starts acting up! 

    In fact, the QL Claw is specifically designed to help release both hip flexors and the piriformis–both of which can contribute to your hip impingement pain! 

    Hip Flexor Release: Tight hip flexors can potentially exacerbate the symptoms of hip impingement. Check out ways the QL Claw can release your hip flexors HERE

    Piriformis Release: A deep muscle located in the buttock, the piriformis tends to also be a major contributor to hip pain and can make hip impingement pain worse. The good news is that the QL provides deep piriformis relief–just as well as going to a masseuse. Check out how it does so HERE

    To learn more about the QL Claw, visit our product description of the QL Claw

    It is our greatest goal to join you on your journey to a healthy and pain-free existence, and I hope we’ve been able to equip you with some helpful tools for handling your hip impingement! 




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