Hip Bursitis Exercises For Seniors

Hip Bursitis Exercises For Seniors

What Causes Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis is a painful condition that is caused by the inflammation of jelly-like sacs located around the hip joint, known as the Bursa sac. These sacs contain fluid that acts like a lubricant, helping joint movements be pain-free.

Hip bursitis is an inflammation that affects the lubrication of the joints, and can cause a great deal of stiffness and pain. Seniors that live with this condition find it difficult to sit, walk, stand, sleep, or move in any way. 

While it most certainly helps to visit the doctor and seek professional help, there are exercises that seniors can do to help improve mobility and reduce pain. These exercises are aimed at maintaining and improving muscle/bone strength and joint flexibility.

** Before starting any of these exercises listed in this article, we highly recommend that you speak with your doctor, or physical therapist. **

Exercises To Help Seniors Affected By Hip Bursitis

Hip Rotator Stretch

Use an exercise mat if you have one to make this exercise more comfortable. Also, make sure you keep your balance controlled when getting into the exercise position and when getting back up.

  1. Start by lying on your back, bending both knees, and placing your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise the affected leg, with the knee bent, and rest the ankle of the affected leg on the opposite leg’s thigh, a little close to the knee.
  3. Use your hand to gently push the knee of the affected leg away from your body, stretching out the area around your hip joint. Don’t overdo it; just push until you feel a gentle stretch on the front of your hip.
  4. Hold the stretched-out position for at least 15 seconds and no more than 30 seconds.
  5. Release the stretch, then switch to pulling the knee of the affected leg towards your shoulder, until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of your hip.
  6. Repeat the above steps 3 to 4 times on the affected leg.

Iliotibial Band (IT band) Stretch

Note: Some seniors may find holding this position a little bit tricky. It is advised that a chair or counter be used to provide extra support.

  1. Stand with your affected hip against a wall, put your weight on the affected hip, and cross the other leg in front of it.
  2. Raise the arm on the side of the affected hip above your head and start leaning away from the wall until you feel a gentle stretch on the outside of the affected hip.
  3. Hold the stretched-out position for at least 15 seconds and no more than 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat the above steps 3 to 4 times.

Straight-leg Raises

You’ll be lying on your side for this exercise, so use an exercise mat and other items to help support your head and neck and stabilize your body.

  1. Start by laying on the side of the unaffected hip and tighten the muscles of the leg of the affected hip to keep your knee straight.
  2. Lift the leg of the affected hip, which should be on top, about 12 inches off the floor. Your hip and leg should be in line with the rest of your body, and make sure you stabilize yourself so you don’t roll onto your back in the middle of the exercise.
  3. Hold the leg in the raised position for about 6 seconds before slowly lowering your leg back down. Do not hold the raised position for more than 10 seconds to not aggravate the affected hip.
  4. Repeat the above steps 8 to 12 times on the affected leg.


For this exercise, you’ll be laying on your side again so be sure to use items, like pillows, to stabilize yourself and support your head and neck.

  1. Lay on your side with the affected hip on top, keeping both legs together and bent at the knees. Lie on your side with your affected hip on top. Support your head with a pillow and stabilize yourself as necessary.
  2. Keep your feet stuck together while lifting your top knee until your knees are about 10 inches apart. Keep your legs together and bend both knees.
  3. Hold the raised position for about 6 seconds before slowly lowering the knee back down.
  4. Repeat the above steps 8 to 12 times, with a 10-second rest period between each raise.

Additional Tips To Help Prevent Hip Bursitis

Seniors should avoid any activity which could aggravate their condition. Activities that put too much pressure on the hip bone and hip joint such as lifting weights or heavy objects should definitely be avoided. 

Even poor posture can aggravate the condition as it puts too much strain on the lower back. This is why it is always recommended to have correct posture whether you are sitting, standing, walking, or even lying down or sleeping. 

Sometimes, hip bursitis could be caused by other ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, and thyroid disease. Seniors affected by these should seek professional help and follow instructions closely to ensure their hip bursitis is not aggravated.

It would also help if you spoke to your physician or physiotherapist about the above exercises as well. They’ll give you advice on how many times a day you should do these exercises and how safe it is for you with your particular condition.

Risk Factors & Safety Precautions To Consider

Seniors affected by severe cases of hip bursitis should take extra precautions when moving around. Due to weaker joints, muscles and bones, losing balance and falling over are all too common for individuals living with hip bursitis.

As such, it is essential, especially for seniors who live alone, to always have a medical alert device that can detect a fall and automatically alert medical authorities and loved ones. A medical alert necklace for seniors, such as the ones offered by Northwood Intouch, can give seniors and their caregivers the peace of mind they deserve. 

For more information call us at +1 (902) 492-3346 or 1-800-461-3346.

Hip Bursitis Exercises For Seniors