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Resolving Hip Impingement Pain


Hip impingement is a common issue we deal with at NorCal Physiotherapy. It is typically reported as a "pinch" in the front of the hip when the hip is flexed - when the knee moves toward the chest. It is an annoying pain that stops us from deadlifting, squatting, picking up our kids, or even putting on shoes. To fix hip impingement pain, you need to know what it is and what specific exercises and stretches to use.

When hip impingement "pinching" happens, it is an indicator of altered movement in the hip. This can be from muscle mobility or activation limitations. It could also be a tight joint or a referral pain from the spine.

Although hip impingement is common, it is not a necessary evil - "Average is not normal". You can fix hip impingement pain and get back to squatting, deadlifting, and lunging without hip pain.

Hip Impingement Self Assessment

There are several reasons for pain in the hip. We want to make sure that this pain is actually from the hip, not a referral pain from the spine or the knee.

While specificity in testing is very important for a correct diagnosis, there are some self-assessments that you can try on your own, even before you come to see your doctor of physical therapy. Although not as accurate as an in-depth evaluation, the results can point you in the correct direction.

But again, take caution - at times hip pain can be from places other than the hip.

This self-assessment is very basic. All you are going to determine is what makes it feel better and what makes it feel worse.

What makes it feel better?

Typically, hip impingement feels better when you allow more room for the hip to move. Remember- it is likely that something isn't moving or activating correctly and is therefore putting abnormal pressure on the tissue. So hip impingement during squatting often feels better when you widen your feet and point the toes out more. The pain would also be lessened when turning the hip out (Externally Rotated) during knee-to-chest movements.

What makes it feel worse?

As stated before, hip impingement pain is typically felt in the front or inside of the thigh when the knee moves to the chest. So pain is often increased with squatting, deadlifting, or tying your shoes. Pain during hip flexion will often increase when the knees and toes turned in or when stretching your knee to the opposite shoulder.

These positions limit the available room for the hips to move. Any mobility restriction will be very apparent.

Exercises and stretches for hip impingement pain

Note - NOT ONE of these exercises is your standard hip stretch because "tight" does not mean "short". "Tight" might mean an overworked muscle. At NorCal Physiotherapy, we rarely prescribe general stretching as an exercise.

The key to fixing hip impingement pain is to regain normal joint mobility and muscle motor control. The exercises in this blog's video are a great start because they are laser targeted to improving movement in the hip without over-stressing the affected tissue.

These exercises and stretches are very effective for someone with hip impingement caused by muscle mobility restrictions. These will not work as well if you have significant joint mobility impairments.

To reiterate - a specific assessment to provide customized treatment is preferred and will give you the best results. These exercises are generalized and may not give you 100% relief.

Get started now with one of the following options:

1. Schedule a Physio Eval with us now on our booking page.

2. Fill out the form below and we will contact you. It's that simple.

We are excited to get the chance to work with you! One of our owners, Jessica, will reach out directly to you to assist.


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