Squatting with Sore Hips? Here’s Why & How to Fix It

Hip Pain in Squatting
Written by Vertical Wise

Squats are a great exercise for your legs and core! They help you get strong, but sometimes people feel pain in their hips when they squat. This pain can be a sign of a problem or because you aren’t doing squats correctly. If you know why your hips hurt, you can squat better and avoid getting hurt.

Understanding Hip Pain in Squatting

Hip pain during squats can feel like a poke, an ache, or a pinch, depending on where it is. The exact spot and feeling can help us guess what’s wrong.

Sometimes the bones in your hip rub together weirdly (FAI) or the rubbery ring around your hip joint (called the labrum) gets ripped. These things can hurt your hip and prevent it from moving right, messing up your squats.

But remember! This information is just a guess. See a doctor, physical therapist, or someone like that to know what’s wrong. They can figure it out and help you get better!

Causes of Hip Pain During Squat

Squats are a great exercise, but sometimes your hips can feel grumpy!

Here are some reasons why:

  • Tight Ankles: If your ankles are stiff and cannot bend up enough, they can make your squats weird and hurt your hips. Try a test: Sit on the floor with your legs straight and toes flat. Can you lean forward comfortably without your heels lifting off the ground? If not, your ankles might be tight!
  • Stiff Hips: Squats need your hips to move in all directions. If your hips are tight or weak, it can mess up your squat form and make your hips unhappy. There are special exercises like circles and stretches to loosen them up.
  • Weak Core: Your core is like your body’s center. If it’s weak, your squats might be wobbly, putting extra stress on your hips. Exercises like planks can help make your core strong and your squats smooth.
  • Hip Shape: Sometimes, the way your hip bones are shaped can make squats tricky. A doctor can check this and see if it’s affecting you.
  • Medical Stuff: In some cases, there might be a bigger reason your hips hurt. Things like tears in the cushiony part of your hip or problems with the bones themselves can cause pain. If this is you, see a doctor to figure it out!

Diagnosing Hip Pain

To diagnose the cause of your hip pain, a healthcare professional might utilize various tools. Here’s an overview:

Imaging Tests

  • X-rays can reveal bone abnormalities or fractures.
  • CT scans provide detailed cross-sectional images of the hip joint.
  • MRI/MRA scans can visualize soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, and the labrum, helping identify tears or inflammation.
  • Bone scans can detect areas of increased bone activity, which might indicate injury or infection.
  • Physical Assessments: Besides imaging tests, physical assessments can be crucial for diagnosis.

These might include:

  • Ankle Dorsiflexion Test (as mentioned earlier)
  • Hip Scour Test involves moving the hip joint in different directions to identify pain points.
  • Range of Motion Tests: Evaluating hip flexion, extension, abduction, and external rotation.
  • Strength Tests: Assessing muscle strength in the hips, core, and legs.

Effective Exercises for Alleviating Hip Pain

Once a doctor figures out why your hips hurt during squats, they can give you special exercises to fix it!

Here are some types of exercises they might recommend:

  • Loosen Up Drills: These are like moving circles with your ankles and hips and gentle stretches. They help your ankles and hips bend more easily, making squats smoother.
  • Get Stronger: Exercises like lifting your butt off the ground (glute bridges) and lunges sideways (lateral lunges) make your hips and back stronger, so they can handle squats better.
  • Stretchy Time: Sometimes, tight muscles can cause pain. These stretches help loosen up your legs so your squats feel better.
  • Hold Your Core: Exercises like planks make your core strong, like a body brace, so your squats are nice and steady.


  • Start slow and easy! Please don’t overdo it.
  • Make the exercises harder as your hips feel better.
  • Always talk to a doctor before starting new exercises, especially if you’ve been hurt.

Advanced Techniques and Modifications

Squats are awesome, but sometimes they make your hips grumpy! Here are some ways to keep exercising without the pain:

  • Easier Squats: Try squats where you hold a weight close to your chest (goblet squat) or on your shoulders (front squat). You can also do “hover squats” where you only squat halfway down. For an extra challenge, you can try Bulgarian Split Squats, which are great for building single-leg strength. These are easier on your hips but still work your muscles.
  • Squat Like a Pro: Make sure you’re squatting the right way. Imagine your knees following your toes as you squat down. A coach or physical therapist can help you with this too.
  • The Right Squat for You: Some squats differently. If you have a long body, you might squat more upright than someone with a shorter body. A doctor or trainer can help you find the squat that works best for your body and stops the pain.

Treatment Options

The treatment approach for hip pain during squats depends on the underlying cause and severity.

Here’s a general overview:

  • Conservative Treatments: These are the first line of defense and include rest, ice application, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and physical therapy. Physical therapy can improve mobility, strengthen muscles, and address biomechanical imbalances contributing to pain.
  • Surgical Interventions: In rare cases, surgery might be necessary for conditions like severe FAI or a large hip labrum tear. However, this is typically considered a last resort after conservative treatments have been exhausted.
  • The emphasis remains on consulting a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan will focus on managing pain, restoring movement, and preventing future injuries.

Preventing Hip Pain During Squat

Here are some key strategies to prevent hip pain during squats:

  • Warm-Up Exercises: Always perform a proper warm-up before squats, including dynamic stretches and light cardio, to prepare your body for movement.
  • Posture and Technique: Throughout the squat, maintain good posture with your core engaged, back straight, and chest up. Focus on proper squat mechanics, ensuring your knees track over your toes and your weight stays distributed evenly across your feet.
  • Consulting with Healthcare Professionals: Regular consultations with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist, can help identify potential issues early on and prevent them from turning into pain or injury. A physical therapist can also provide personalized guidance on squat form, core strengthening, and injury prevention strategies.

About the author

Vertical Wise

Vertical Wise is an international website dedicated to supporting and promoting the world of pole dancing and aerial fitness. Our mission is to spread awareness, share knowledge, and celebrate the incredible artistry and athleticism of these disciplines. Join us as we connect enthusiasts, athletes, and professionals from around the globe, fostering a vibrant community that inspires and empowers individuals to reach new heights in their fitness journey.

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