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Hip Swingers: More Motion and Less Load for Painful Hips

Posted Jan 29 2010 11:25am

A reader sent me a question regarding how to apply the concept of low load, high volume repetition that we often use for knee pain to the hip. Here's his question and my reply.

"I am looking for something along the lines of your "tailgaters" program for the knee, in order to bathe that hip joint cartilage in synovial fluid, and maybe get it working a little better. Low load, and appropriate movement.  I've looked through both of your sites and haven't seen anything on this topic.  What do you think - is there a path here that will avoid surgery and let me get this thing back in working order? Got any suggestions? My reading of the MRI is that my hip isn't really all that bad, compared to some others I've read about. I want to stay young forever!"



Thanks for reading Paul and for your question. 

I've used a number of techniques to improve weight bearing ability and joint strength in the hip and one for home is below:



  • You'll need a heavy duty elastic band. The one we use is here and the ankle attachment is here.
  • Attach the end of the band in the frame of a door. Make sure the attachment is up high and is secure (see photo example).
  • Lie down on your back and connect the other end of the band to the ankle strap.
  • Slide away from the door so that your leg, in a relaxed position, is suspended off the floor about 6-9 inches.
  • Now, gently swing your leg back and forth, up and down. This action is similar to the Tailgator for the knee. The foot should not strike the ground. If it does, slide away from the door a bit more.
  • I typically suggest 5-10 minutes per session and two or three sessions per day.

The motion should be pain free and very easy with no muscle fatigue. Many of my clients will use this drill prior to other forms of exercise to "lubricate" the hip.

I hope this is helpful for you.

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