Yoga in the treatment of hip bursitis

November 12, 2012

Yoga in the treatment of hip bursitis

Yoga is a gentle exercise that can help in the rehabilitation following conditions such as hip bursitis among other things.

The bursa is a fluid filled sac which enables smooth, friction free movement between joints. Hip bursitis is a non-infectious inflammation of the bursa caused by injury or trauma to the bursa. Bursitis is an extremely painful condition which only very rarely becomes results in infection.

Flexibility is the key

Recent research suggests that keeping hip muscles strong and flexible may be one way of reducing the risk of developing hip bursitis. Following any diagnosis of this condition your medical practitioner will work closely with you to develop an appropriate treatment program – for some patients this may well include the use of yoga to as an aid to pain relief.


Yoga exercises are useful ways of increasing body strength and balance as well as helping to stretch the body thereby increasing flexibility. Experimenting with a variety of different poses, including standing and seated poses, will help to identify those poses which do not cause increased pain around the area affected by hip bursitis. Finding a professional, certified yoga teacher will be beneficial in your search for ways of dealing with hip bursitis.

Standing poses

  • Pigeon pose – this standing pose will stretch one hip whilst strengthening the other as you balance. Standing tall draw your right ankle upwards towards the thigh – just above or below the knee. Sink the left hip as though about to sit, the outer right hip should be noticeably stretching. Keeping the hands in the praying position maintain this stance for up to seven breaths on each side.

  • The side angle pose – this stance will help to stretch the inner thighs as well as the hip muscles. With feet wide apart (four or five feet) turn the right foot and knee to the right; bend the right knee into an angle of 90 degrees and draw your right forearm into your right thigh, reaching up to the ceiling with the left hand. Keep the left leg straightened with contracted muscles and hold for between seven and ten breaths on each side.

Floor poses

  • Half lord of the fishes – this pose will stretch your hips and spine. Beginning in a seated position cross the right foot over the lap and place on the floor next to the left hip, pointing the right knee upwards as you turn your body to the right. Place the right hand on the floor behind you – for more intensity bring the left elbow to the outside of the right leg. Hold for seven to ten breaths on each side.

  • The supine bound angle or butterfly poses may provide relief for your hip bursitis without exerting pressure on the affected area. When lying on your back bring the soles of your feet together above the inner thigh, splay the knees to the sides. Grab the ankles or calves and gently pull the heels closer to the groin area. Relax face and shoulders and hold this pose for one minute.

It is important to remember that yoga may not be the only treatment required for persistent hip bursitis – the use of ice packs and anti-inflammatory medication should not be excluded. Any increase in pain or discomfort should be immediately reported to your medical or yoga practitioner.


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