Best Hip Impingement Stretches

by Onward Physical Therapy | February 14, 2020 |
 Hip Pain
Best Hip Impingement Stretches

Suffering from femoracetabular impingement? Dr. Zach Long is a sports physical therapist in Charlotte, NC who specializes in helping individuals dealing with this painful condition. We’d love to help get you on the road for recovery.


Best Hip Impingement Stretches video transcript:

What’s going on everybody? Zach Long here, doctor of physical therapy, to talk about my three favorite stretches for hip impingement symptoms. This is also known as femoracetabular impingement. This can present as pain in the front side of the hip as you do movements such as squatting. It can also occur as you go through a running pattern or even just daily life. So, these three stretches are going to be incredibly valuable to help you out if you suffer from this.

Hip Sleeper Stretch

The first stretch we’re going to do for femoracetabular impingement is going to be an internal rotation sleeper stretch. So I’m going to lay on my back and I’ve got my feet really wide. Then I’m going to drop my knees in towards each other. Basically as I do that, I feel a stretch wrapping around the sides and back of my hip. Addressing internal rotation for people dealing with hip impingement symptoms can often provide little relief. But if we’re too aggressive and we stretch really high up into hip flexion, that’ll actually increase their hip pain. So, we need to be cautious by going down low here. If we need to give extra pressure, we can put our other foot on top and bring in a deeper stretch there. That’s stretch number one.

Posterior Capsule Stretch

Stretch number two is going to be a stretch for the posterior capsule of the hip. So this stretch is really, really good for individuals dealing with hip impingement. So I’m going to start on my hands and knees. Let’s say that my right hip is the one that’s having a little bit of an issue. I’m going to kick my left leg back and out of the way. Then I’m going to take my right leg and I’m going to bring my foot in. After I bring my foot in, I’m going to shift my hips towards the right a little bit while keeping my pelvis flat. So it’s just a little side shift here. And then we’re going to sit back. And as we sit back, we’ll basically end up feeling a big stretch deep in the back side of that right hip.

Now we’ve got three different levers that we can play with here. We can change the degree of rotation that we have, we can change how much side shifting we have, and we can also change how much we go into hip flexion here to alter the stretch so that we get that big posterior hip stretch, and we’re not creating any femoracetabular impingement symptoms. We don’t want to be doing that.

90/90 PAILs and RAILs

Stretch number three is going to be 90/90 PAILs and RAILs. I’m going to sit facing you now in this 90/90 position. So if I drew a line across my hips, my left leg is parallel to that line, my right leg is perpendicular to it, and both knees are at a 90 degree angle. I’m going to take this hand and press myself up tall. I’m going to keep my chest really high so that you can always read the writing on my chest, on my shirt, and then I’m going to lean forward.

As I lean forward, I get a stretch really deep in the backside of my hip. If you’re not feeling that, you’re probably actually dropping your chest down and letting your back round versus keeping that chest nice and high. We really want to do that. We want to keep our abdominals braced a little bit almost like somebody’s going to walk in and slap us on the stomach. And we lean into that good stretch. After we hang out in this stretch for about a minute, we’re going to imagine there’s a hundred dollar bill underneath our shin and we’re going to imagine somebody’s trying to pull that hundred dollar bill out from underneath us. For 10 seconds we’re going to drive our shin down into the ground really hard.

After 10 seconds of that, we’re going to actually try to go the opposite direction. So we’re going to try to lift our leg up, except we’re not going to move out of the stretch position. Because we’re at end range of the hip, it’s actually not going to be possible for this leg to lift up. Instead we’re going to focus on trying to do it even though we know it’s impossible. And for 10 seconds we’re going to do that. That’s round one of this stretch. I usually have people repeat this twice, so we’ll do the one minute stretch and then those two directions of contractions again. There you have the 90/90 PAILs and RAILs.

This wraps up my three favorite exercises and stretches to give to individuals suffering from hip impingement to give them a little bit of relief.

Suffering from femoracetabular impingement? Our physical therapy team specializes in helping individuals dealing with this painful condition. We’d love to help get you on the road for recovery.