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4 hip exercises to relieve knee pain

Knees giving you trouble? Your hips might be the problem

There is a strong relationship between hip strength and knee pain, which is why runners who suffer from chronic knee issues, like patellofemoral pain syndrome (also known as runner’s knee) are often given exercises to strengthen their hip abductors and hip extensors. If your knees are giving you trouble, or if you want to prevent future knee problems, add these four exercises into your regular strength routine.

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Why the hips?

The reason hip strength is so closely tied to knee pain is because of the way your body moves as you run. In the stance phase of your running gait, the gluteus medius (a.k.a. your hip abductors) and your gluteus maximus help prevent your pelvis from dropping to one side. If these muscles are weak, your hips will drop momentarily with every step you take, causing your knees to cave inward. This causes compression of the knee cap, which over time, leads to knee pain.

By strengthening the muscles around your hips, you can solve this problem. The following four exercises are easy to do and can be completed anywhere, making them simple to incorporate into your weekly routine.

Clamshells




  1. Lie on one side with your knees bent and your legs stacked on top of each other.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift the top knee up as far as you can go without moving your hips.
  3. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg.
  4. Add a resistance band to make this exercise more challenging.

Side-lying hip abduction




  1. Lie down on one side with your top leg extended straight out and your bottom knee bent.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your leg into the air as high as you can without moving your hip.
  3. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg.
  4. Make this exercise more challenging by adding a weight around your ankle.

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Hip bridges




  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes to push your hips into the air until you’re making a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  3. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 10-20 times.
  4. To make this more challenging, wrap a band around your legs just above your knees, or hold a weight on your hips.

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Banded crab walks




    1. Wrap a resistance band around both ankles.
    2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then bend your knees slightly so you’re in a semi-squat position.
    3. Squeeze your glutes and begin walking laterally across the floor, being careful not to let the band pull your knees inward.
    4. Walk for 10-20 steps in one direction, then repeat going the opposite way.