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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jill King

Simple Exercises for Knee and Hip Pain

Considerations Before Starting

Flexibility and strength exercises are key to relieving hip pain. Although these exercises may result in temporary discomfort, they should not cause or aggravate pain. If an exercise causes pain, stop doing it or try going at a slower or gentler pace.

Individuals who have recently had a hip replacement should consult a doctor or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises below.

These four exercises stretch the muscles around the hip and knee joints, which can help reduce stiffness and improve joint mobility.

A person should perform these exercises at times when they are feeling the least amount of pain and stiffness. A good time to do them is after a warm shower or bath when the muscles are most relaxed.

Begin with one or two exercises a day, three times a week. If this feels comfortable, try doing several exercises once a day.

Hip Extensions

To perform hip extensions:

  1. Stand upright with the legs straight and the feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Extend both arms out in front and hold on to a chair, table, or wall for support.

  3. Keeping the right leg straight, lift the left leg backward without bending the knee.

  4. Lift the leg as far as possible without causing discomfort, then clench the buttock tightly and hold the position for 5 seconds.

Repeat this stretch 5–10 times on each leg. To increase the resistance, try attaching small weights to the legs.

Double Hip Rotations

To perform double hip rotations:

  1. Lie flat on the back. Then, bend the knees and bring them toward the body until the feet are flat on the floor.

  2. Gently rotate the knees to the left, lowering them toward the floor. Rotate the head to face the right while keeping the shoulders against the floor.

  3. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds.

  4. Slowly return both the head and knees to the starting position.

  5. Repeat on the opposite side.


To perform a bridge:

  1. Lie on the back, bending both legs at the knee and placing the feet flat on the floor. Keep the arms by the sides of the body with the palms facing downward. If necessary, place a small pillow underneath the neck and head for support.

  2. Slowly lift the pelvis and lower back upward. Be sure to keep the shoulders and upper body on the floor.

  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds.

  4. Gradually lower the back and pelvis toward the floor, starting at the top of the spine. Roll down through the spine until the entire back is flat against the floor again.

Repeat this exercise 5–10 times.


To perform heel-to-buttock exercises:

  1. Stand upright with the legs straight and the feet shoulder-width apart. For support, hold on to a chair, table, or wall.

  2. Bending the left knee, bring the heel up toward the left buttock with the top of the foot facing the floor. Be sure to keep the right leg straight and align the knees.

  3. Slowly lower the leg and return to the starting position.

  4. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

Aim to do 5–10 repetitions on each leg.

Gently stretching and exercising the hips can help relieve pain, increase mobility, and strengthen muscles. There are many exercises to choose from, but people can experiment to find the ones that work best for them and then incorporate these exercises into a routine.

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