Hip Pain When Walking

Do You Get Hip Pain When Walking?

Watch this video to learn how to get rid of hip pain when walking, and keep it from coming back...

What Causes Hip Pain When Walking?

There are many different things that can cause hip pain when walking.  In fact "hip pain" means different things to different people.

Common places people get hip pain when walking:

  • On the side of the hip
  • In the groin
  • In the back of the hip/ buttock

Pain in the back of the hip is often referred from the low back or the sciatic nerve. Learn how to walk without back pain or sciatica.

If you have pain in the back of the hip and you haven't had your back ruled out as a cause of your hip pain, it's a good idea to get it checked out.

We'd be happy to help you discover where your hip pain is coming from.

Click to request a Free Discovery Visit

In this post, we'll refer to as hip pain is pain on the outside of the hip when walking.

Pain on the outside of the hip can be caused by irritation of the muscles, bursa, tendons, or IT band that run over your hip bone.  It's not that important which of those structures is the cause of your pain (often it's more than one).

It's more important to know what's causing your hip to hurt.

Pain on the outside of the hip can be caused by weakness in the hip muscles that help hold your pelvis level when standing on one leg.

This causes the pelvis to shift from side to side when walking.  This is particularly common in women because women have a wider pelvis than men.

Now, I know women used to be told that it looks sexy to wag their hips from side to side... and perhaps it does.

But it's not good for your hips!

Use These Tips To Relieve Hip Pain When Walking:

If your hip is only mildly weak or your hips move from side to side out of habit:

  1. Each time your foot hits the floor, think about squeezing your buttock muscles on that side.  This will help activate the muscles that balance your body over your hip.
  2. As you take a step with your other leg, think about getting balanced over the leg that you're standing on.  Walking is basically a series of standing on one leg over and over again.
  3. If you need help to balance, learn an easy balance exercise for pain on the outside of the hip when walking.

That's pretty much it!  EASY... right?

But What If Your Hip Muscles Are REALLY Weak?

You may not want to hear, this but the best bet to relieve hip pain when walking if your hip muscles are really weak is to use a cane.

Not forever, but for a brief period of time until your hip muscles get stronger.

Thing about it like lifting a weight.  If you were to try to hold a 100lb weight over your head, but you were only strong enough to live 80lbs, would that be a good idea?

Of course not! The weight would fall down on your head and you would get hurt.  And no matter how badly you wanted to hold that 100lb weight over your head, you wouldn't be able to do so.

But if someone gave you 20lbs of assistance, then you could do it.

7 Simple Tips To Get Rid Of Hip Pain by Dr. Dave Candy, More 4 Life Physical Therapy, St. Louis, MO

WHY It's Smart To Use A Cane To Stop Hip Pain When Walking

The same thing happens when walking with a cane...

If your hip muscles aren't strong enough to balance your body over your hip when walking, you're going to irritated the muscles, tendons, and bursa in the hip each time you take a step. And over time, this will start to cause inflammation of those structures.

Using a cane allows you to walk without irritating the structures on the outside of your hip, thus stopping them from getting further inflamed.

At the same time, your hip muscles get stronger because you are able to walk longer without being limited by pain.

Over time, you will be able to rely less on the cane and eventually get rid of the cane once your hip muscles get strong enough.

So now that we've covered WHY you should use a cane to prevent hip pain when walking, this is HOW you do it.

HOW To Use A Cane To Prevent Hip Pain When Walking:

  1.  Hold the can in the OPPOSITE hand as the sore hip.  This allows you to offload weight from the hip to the cane by leaning away from that hip.
  2. Move the cane at the SAME TIME as you move your sore leg.
  3. Put some weight through the cane. Don't just touch the ground with it.
  4. Step PAST the cane with the "good" leg and then then repeat steps 2-4 over and over.

So that covers how to stop pain on the outside of the hip when walking.

What About Groin Pain When Walking?

Groin pain when walking is more commonly a sign of some problem inside the hip joint (such as hip arthritis or a labral tear), or an irritation of the hip flexor muscles.

As you get stronger and your balance improves, the pain on the outside of your hip should start to improve as well.

What can you do to stop groin pain when walking?

Actually, a lot of the tips mentioned above help groin pain too. By activating your glute (buttock) muscles when walking, you take pressure off of the hip joint and prevent things like your hip flexor tendon or your labrum from getting pinched inside the hip joint (which is actually in the groin, not on the side of the hip).

Similarly, using a cane when walking also helps take pressure off of the hip joint.

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