Fixing Hip Pain When You Squat

Updated: Jun 25

Do your hips feel tight or like you have a pinching sensation when you squat or during other activities that demand deep hip flexion?

This is a very common complaint we hear on a regular basis. Whether due to demands of a sport like Crossfit, weightlifting, cycling or from an increased amount of sitting in a different work setup (thanks, 2020!), it can be frustrating when many of the normal stretches don’t seem to offer any real relief.

This is a common issue that responds really well to conservative management including activity modification, restoring motion, improving muscle strength, movement mechanics, and motor patterns. This should be encouraging news! By following a specific plan you will be able to calm down irritated tissues and get back to doing activities you enjoy.

Step 1

The first step will be to remove or modify painful activities – this is a TEMPORARY adjustment to your daily and sports activities to decrease the irritation on already sensitive tissue. Continuing to assume pain-provoking positions can slow healing down, and our job is to create a healing environment through activity modification.

Through modification, you can continue to train and exercise by prioritizing movements that don’t exacerbate symptoms early in the treatment/recovery stages.

There are several ways to approach this part of the process:

1. Range of motion

2. Intensity (or Speed)

3. Loading

Changing Your Range of Motion

Using variations of squat form can help change the amount of hip flexion required and decrease stress on irritated tissues but allow you to continue training. Less hip flexion and more upright posture is a better choice if you are dealing with anterior hip pinching/pain with squatting.

Goblet Squats and Front Squats are good variations to start with because your torso is more upright and they require less hip flexion compared to the back squat.