How to Prevent Hip Pain when Walking

Women who suffer from hip pain after walking


Walking is the easiest and safest form of exercise and walking at least 15 minutes a day already contributes to having a better well being and a healthy body and mind. Walking, however, can cause some problems because of some factors such as being overweight, wearing shoes that don’t fit your foot structure, walking for a long time, and some others. Hip pain is one of the conditions that may be felt when walking.

Hip pain while walking may have various causes. The most common causes of hip pain when walking are joint degeneration, tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis. Hip pain is usually felt in the front thigh area and the groin but the pain can extend to the lower back and the knee.

Here are some tips to prevent experiencing hip pain when walking:

  • Watch your weight. Being overweight can cause significant problems and bring about hip pain. The extra weight carried by the body creates pressure on the lower parts of the body from the hips up to the feet and when there is too much pressure, this is what causes different kinds of pain such as back pain, hip pain, heel pain, and other kinds of condition affecting the lower part of the body. A 20-minute walk for a person with normal weight can already be a burden for a person who is overweight.
  • Wear good supportive and comfortable shoes with proper cushioning that would fit your foot structure or get insoles to maintain a good foot position. Wearing shoes that are not comfortable or that do not fit your foot structure may lead to injuries that can affect not only the feet but also the hips. Besides, it is easier and more convenient to walk if you are wearing comfortable shoes.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees at night. Having a bad posture and sleeping position can cause hip pain and this kind of pain can be felt while walking.
  • If you have these conditions causing hip pain while walking such as arthritis, joint degeneration, bursitis, and tendonitis, try using walking poles or a cane if you are going for a long walk or hike.
  • If you have conditions making it difficult for you to have long walks, try avoiding long walks and look for alternate exercises instead to stretch those muscles that you use when walking such as swimming, stationary biking, biking, and stationary rowing.
  • When climbing steps, walk with your unaffected hip/leg. When going down the stairs, use your affected hip/leg.
  • When you work hours sitting at an office desk, try having regular short breaks. You can try walking backward or sideways to change the biomechanical loading of the hip. Keep your legs moving while sitting down. Try to stretch out your legs as often as you can. Avoid sitting cross-legged. Avoid having to reach for objects in your desk and make sure that your chair of the seat allows you to sit down with a straight back.
  •  Avoid squatting too much unless you do the squatting as a form of stretching or exercise for the hips.
  • When you have to kneel, try to use kneeling pads.
  • When riding a bike, adjust the saddle height based on your own height. Make sure that the ball of your feet is on the pedal instead of using the arch of the feet.
  • Raise your seat. Make sure that the hip is only bent 90 degrees.
  • Minimize the use of restrictive clothes around the hips or knees just like pencil skirts. Your legs and hips should be able to move freely.
  • Try to be conscious of your hip postures and positions whether you are at home or at work. It’s really important to have a good posture because your posture has a big impact on your health and general well being.
  • Avoid carrying heavy objects to prevent straining your hip. Only carry objects that you can handle. If you lift weights at the gym, choose the weights that you can carry. Avoid lifting objects awkwardly and also try avoiding having to reach to lift objects. If you have to lift from the ground, for example, lifting weights at the gym, stand close to the object and keep your feet hip-width apart. Bend using your back and your knees. Keep your chin in.
  • When using a bag going to school or work, it is better to use rucksacks than handbags especially if you are carrying a laptop with you. If you use a tote bag, briefcase, or handbag, try alternating the sides you are carrying the bags to distribute the weight and to avoid overloading on one side.
  • Always use a luggage when traveling. Only bring items that you will need for traveling to lessen the weight of your baggage.
  • When grocery shopping, try using those grocery bags with rollers to avoid having to carry grocery bags. Also, carry fewer grocery bags at a time to transport to and from the car. It might be a bit time consuming but it can lessen the strain on your hips.
  • Spread out the chores at home. Don’t do all chores in one day. You can alternate the lighter and heavier tasks that you do in a day.
  • Do regular stretches and exercise. Swimming is the best exercise for the hip. The water helps reduce the body weight that goes through your legs and it alleviates the stress on your hips.