Hip Pain and Squatting: Navigating the Discomfort

Hip Pain and Squatting: Navigating Through the Discomfort

Experiencing hip pain can be more than just a nuisance, especially for those who don’t want to put their training on hold. Squatting often gets the blame for aggravating hip discomfort. But why does this happen, and more importantly, what can you do about it?

 

Why Does My Hip Hurt When I Squat?

Hip pain during squats can be caused from several factors. It might be

  • the result of using too much weight that you cannot control,
  • not allowing enough recovery between sessions, or
  • weaknesses in the muscles around the hip and trunk.
  • Technique—like squatting too deep, choosing a squat stance that isn’t suitable for your body, excessive/uncontrolled pelvic movement, or leaning too far forward—can also contribute to the problem. Or,
  • Lastly, mobility restrictions at the ankle might be contributing.

How Do You Fix Hip Flexor Pain When Squatting?

Adjusting the frequency, intensity, and load of your training can provide immediate relief. Consider using lighter weights, reducing the number of training days involving squats, or modifying your squat technique to reduce depth temporarily (i.e. squatting to a box). Exploring different squat stances, slowing down the movement, or using props like a small weight plate under your heels can also help alleviate pain by reducing the load on the hip joint.

Should I Keep Squatting With Hip Impingement?

Training modification is key here. Completely stopping your exercise isn’t usually necessary (or even beneficial). Instead, focus on adapting your training to reduce stress on the hip. This might involve altering your squat depth, adjusting or substituting squats with less aggravating exercises temporarily (i.e. leg extensions).

Most of the time, you do not need to stop your training for your hip pain to improve. Instead we want to modify our training around our hip pain for a period of time to allow the irritated structures to settle. Although, this should be assessed by your physio to confirm.

Are Deep Squats Bad for Hips?

Not inherently, but deep squats can increase hip pain for some individuals. If you’re experiencing discomfort, try reducing the squat depth to a point just above where pain occurs, or consider alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups without causing pain.

Is It Possible to Fix Hip Impingement?

‘Fixing’ hip impingement is a tricky term – it’s usually a diagnosis of imaging and specific tests. With the right approach, by modifying your training, the next step is to address underlying issues that might be contributing to your symptoms. Strengthening exercises for the hip and trunk, as well as improving mobility in the hip and ankle, can play significant roles in recovery and prevention of further issues.

Summary:

What can I do about my front hip pain?

Here are some simple strategies that you can use to train around your hip pain temporarily to keep you achieving your goals.

  • Modify frequency/intensity/load of training
    • Decrease the amount of weight that you are using temporarily
    • Decrease the number of days you are training the painful exercise/movement i.e. from 2 to 1
  • Modify your technique
    • Reduce the depth of your squat – Instead of squatting all the way to the ground, temporarily decrease the depth of your squat. A good option is to squat to a box just above the painful depth
    • Slow down the movement, using a tempo-squat
    • Elevate your heels – Using a small weight plate under your heels when you squat changes the load going through the hip joint.
    • Change your squat stance and type of squat – Play around with how far apart your feet are, and how turned out your toes are and see if you can find a pain-free variation.
    • Learn to ‘hip hinge’ or to appropriately brace your trunk.
  • Change the exercise
    • Change from a squat, to a different exercise that targets the same muscles
      • Exercise substitutes: leg extensions, split squats, reverse nordics or wall squats

Moving Forward: Now that my symptoms are tolerable, what do I do next?

Next, we want to address any ‘impairments’ that you might have that could be contributing to your symptoms.

  • Increase the strength of your hip and trunk muscles
    • Potential trunk exercises:

    • Potential trunk exercises:

 

Each of these exercises can be found on our YouTube Channel, here

Improving ankle mobility:

 

Conclusion: Moving Forward with Confidence

Overcoming hip pain from squatting is achievable by understanding its causes and making smart training adjustments. Embrace technique tweaks, strength and mobility exercises, and listen to your body. With persistence and the right approach, you can continue training without too much compromise. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements, keeping you on track toward your goals.

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We believe that modern physio should offer you care across the entire treatment journey to achieve your goals, from pain relief, to strengthening and reducing injury risk. This is why we created our purpose-built facility with access to state of the art technology and equipment.