With aging, our joints become noisy, weak, and worn out. Lack of exercise, being overweight, an unhealthy diet, and injuries can affect the condition of our joints.

Joint inflammation, joint stiffness, swelling of joints are common joint conditions that affect millions of Americans. Bursitis is a joint inflammation that damages bursae – small bags filled with synovial fluid.

The fluid-filled sacs act as protective pillows between the muscle and bone of a joint. A bursa is damaged when a joint is overused.

Sometimes, a bacterial infection may cause bursitis. Bursitis in the knee, hip, shoulder, or anywhere in the body can make daily movement a painful affair. Can bursitis be prevented? Can exercise reduce bursitis pain?

Can Exercise Alleviate Hip Bursitis?

Bursitis affects the middle-aged population and seniors most. Bursitis can occur where the bursae are. There are over 150 bursae in our bodies. Hip bursitis or trochanteric bursitis occurs when the trochanteric bursa is inflamed.

Trochanteric bursitis is also referred to as greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) and is treatable. Constant pain on your upper thigh and outside of your hip is an indication of hip bursitis.

The pain might spread toward the knees over time. Acute hip bursitis makes movement painful. It can also affect your sleep.

Is hip bursitis curable? This study is a systematic review of hip bursitis treatment efficacy.

Experts recommend maintaining good posture in performing activities such as walking, standing, sitting, and working to reduce bursitis pain.

Regular exercise helps keep your joints in good health. For example, some types of exercises for hip bursitis may effectively ease bursitis pain around your hip.

While exercising, you need to focus on increasing muscle strength and flexibility in your thigh and core areas.

Exercise is beneficial for strengthening the muscles around your hip to support your joints. If you have bursitis in the knee, consider stretching and exercising to support the knee and thigh muscles.

Gentle stretches and low-impact exercises can improve knee functions. Also, workout to strengthen your inner and outer thighs for better hip support.

Aquatic workouts and swimming are excellent exercises for bursitis in the knee.

As exercising in water does not put pressure on your inflamed joints, it helps strengthen your muscles.

Consider enrolling for an aqua workout if you notice bursitis symptoms in hip or knee areas.

Depending on pain and mobility, you should ask your doctor which exercises for hip bursitis will be appropriate for you.

Perform These Exercises for Bursitis Pain Relief

Specific exercises for bursitis
Specific exercises for bursitis can help you handle your pain and discomfort.

Controlled stretching and strengthening exercises for bursitis may reduce your joint inflammation and improve joint flexibility.

However, it is recommended to start with a doctor-approved exercise plan to avoid the risks of injury and further damage.

Steer clear of sudden and rapid motions while performing exercises. The rule is to start slowly after warming up properly and stop if any pain occurs.

Doing the stretches twice or thrice a day and exercising once or twice daily is okay.

Stretching Exercises that Work for Hip Bursitis

1. Hamstring Wall Stretch

Hamstrings are a large group of muscles connected to our hips and knees that hold our bodies upright.

Hamstring stretches are good for increasing flexibility and improving the range of motion in the pelvis area.

Regular stretching of hamstrings improves posture and prevents injuries.

For example, if you have difficulty performing daily movements, hamstring exercises for hip bursitis will make it easy to climb stairs and bend over.

How To Do Hamstring Wall Stretch:
First, lie on your back near a wall or a sofa. Then raise your affected leg slowly on the wall or the sofa, keeping the other leg stretched on the floor.

Next, raise the leg as straight as possible without bending the knee. Hold it for 1 minute; you can lengthen the time up to 6 minutes as you practice more. Repeat this 2-3 times.

2. Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis stretch increases the flexibility of the gluteus and piriformis (deep buttock) muscles. It also increases hip and core strength.

Piriformis and glute flexibility ensure easy movement of the buttocks and upper legs.

How To Do Piriformis Stretch:
Piriformis Stretch
Start by lying on your back. Bend both knees upwards. Place the ankle of your affected leg over the knee of your good leg.

Grip the thigh of your good leg and pull the knee close to your chest. You can feel a stretch along the buttocks. Hold this for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Perform this stretch twice a day.

3. Clamshell

Clamshell stretches are excellent for strengthening glutes, hip, and pelvic muscles. It also soothes tensed muscle in the lower back area.

Clamshell improves the balance between the pelvic floor and thighs and prevents overuse and injury.

How To Do Clamshell:
First, lie on your side, placing the affected leg on top. Place your head on a pillow or your forearm. Bend your knees at 45 degrees and keep your knees and feet together.

Use the upper arm to stabilize the pose. Then create a clamshell shape by raising your top knee but keeping the feet together.

Keep the lower leg stuck on the floor. Try to hold it for 5 seconds. Slowly revert to the first position. Rest for a while, then repeat.

4. Iliotibial Band Stretch

Iliotibial band syndrome is indicative of an overuse injury of the connective tissues present in the outer thigh and knee area.

A tight IT band can inflame the muscles and bursa around the hip trochanter.

Stretching the IT band is a good exercise for persons with bursitis in the knee.

How to Do An ITB Stretch:
ITB Stretch
First, stand cross-legged with the uninjured leg in front of the injured leg. Keep your knee straight and bend forward to touch your toes.

Hold this position for 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat this 2-3 times. You should perform this stretch on both legs.

How to Approach the Exercises for Bursitis

Orthopedic experts recommend doing exercises for bursitis to improve strength in the pelvis, gluteus maximus, and lower back area.

Isometric exercises are the best for alleviating hip bursitis symptoms and improving joint flexibilities.

The best thing about the isometric exercises for bursitis is you can do this throughout the day as you take periodic breaks from work.

Consider the Following Isometric Exercises for Bursitis

1. Bridges

Lie on your back. Keep your knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor. While Squeezing your ab, lift your lower body without putting pressure on your neck. Try to hold for 15-25 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times.

How does this exercise help your hip? When you elevate your pelvis, you engage the hip flexors, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and quadriceps. These muscles work in tandem to support the hip and may alleviate bursitis symptoms.

If bursitis in the knee is your problem, consider doing the following exercises:

2. Quad set

  • Sit on the mat.
  • Stretch your legs straight.
  • Place a rolled towel under the knee.
  • Push the backside of the knee downwards to reach the floor.
  • Tighten your thigh and hold for 8-10 seconds.
  • Try to achieve a strong muscle contraction when you do this stretch.

Side-lying Hip

3. Side-lying Hip Abduction

This exercise targets stabilizing hip and knee. Whether you have bursitis in the knee or experiencing difficulty in hip movements, side-lying hip abduction is good for you.

What are the benefits of side-lying hip abduction? Side-lying hip abduction is one of the simple exercises for bursitis that strengthens core muscles and glutes. This exercise enhances stability during walking and standing and prevents risks of knee injuries.

How to do side-lying hip abduction:
Start with lying down on your side. Stretch your legs one on top of the other. Bend your lower arm and place your head on it.

Place your feet at a 90-degree angle to your legs. Now squeeze your butt and raise your upper leg up to the hip joint, exhaling.

Hold till your back and hip start to tense. Slowly lower your leg, inhaling. Perform this exercise on both legs.

4. Straight Leg Raise

Straight leg raises improve a weak back. These exercises tone and strengthen the thigh and core muscles. Leg raises also improve the flexibility and agility of the hip flexors.

How to do straight leg raise:
First, lie on your side. Stretch your leg straight. Tighten the muscle of your injured leg. Keeping your knee straight, lift the top leg up to 12 inches off the floor.

Don’t roll towards your back. Keep your leg in the air for 6-8 seconds. Lower and repeat the set 7- 8 times.

Straight leg raise

Frequently Asked Questions

Stretches are good for improving overall joint health. If you are diagnosed with hip bursitis, you may consider doing stretching exercises for hip bursitis.

However, it is crucial to consult a physician or physical therapist to determine which exercises are safe for you.

Isometric exercises are suitable for hip bursitis. They are effective in reducing painful bursitis symptoms.

A study[1] shows isometric and isotonic exercises for bursitis are effective in reducing pain and improving joint function.

Exercises for hip bursitis such as gluteal stretch and hip bridges, variants of leg raises may improve joint health and minimize pain. However, it is essential to train under an expert physical therapist for safety concerns.

If you are considering self-care for hip bursitis, supplements may help improve the pain and symptoms. This study[2] mentions that some supplementations may effectively address bursitis pain, but one needs to be careful about the ingredients while purchasing joint health supplements.


As we have mentioned previously, bursitis can occur where bursae are present. Both of our shoulders contain a bursa, so shoulder bursitis is a common condition in many. Shoulder bursitis can result from incorrect posture, repetitive motions, injury, muscle weakness, etc. Can shoulder bursitis exercises reduce stiffness, soreness, and weakness of the shoulders?

When performed under an expert trainer, shoulder bursitis exercises can alleviate shoulder pain and improve strength and flexibility in the area. However, you have to pay particular attention to the exercises you are carrying to prevent straining the affected part.

Posterior capsule stretch, behind-the-back stretch, bilateral shoulder external rotation with scapular retraction, and wall angels are some of the shoulder bursitis exercises that may alleviate your shoulder pain.

Like hip and knee exercises, shoulder bursitis exercises, too, need a gentle approach for the best result. Most shoulder bursitis exercises focus on stabilizing the muscles between the shoulder blades and the rotator cuff muscles.

While performing shoulder bursitis exercises, you can consider using tools for a smooth, safe experience. Shoulder pulley, pedal exerciser, resistance bands, and stretch straps are some of the tools that may help you regain shoulder flexibility and strength.

Finally, apart from shoulder bursitis exercises, we can’t stress enough the importance of good body mechanics and exercises to prevent bursitis. Furthermore, add adequate rest, cold compress, and a nutrient-rich diet to your lifestyle, and you will be rewarded with pain-free movements and improved joint health.