Hip Pain When Squatting: Possible Causes And Strategies To Help

Hip Pain During Squats: A Comprehensive Guide

Squats are more than just an exercise; they’re an essential movement that transcends the gym and contributes to our daily functional fitness. From powerlifters to casual gym-goers, the squat is a universal component in various fitness regimens. However, this seemingly simple exercise can sometimes lead to unexpected and discomforting hip pain. In this blog, we will delve into the multifaceted world of hip pain associated with squatting. From exploring the common causes to providing practical solutions, this resource will offer insights and tips to help you with hip pain when squatting with confidence and comfort.

Is Hip Pain A Muscle Or Joint Problem? 

Is Hip Pain A Muscle Or Joint Problem?Hip pain can be attributed to both muscle and joint problems. And determining the underlying cause often requires a careful assessment.

Muscle problems leading to hip pain might include strains, tightness, or imbalances in the muscles surrounding the hip, such as the glutes, hip flexors, or hamstrings. These muscular issues can be a result of overuse, poor posture, or a lack of flexibility.

On the other hand, joint problems can stem from the hip joint itself, such as osteoarthritis, labral tears, or hip impingement. These joint-related issues often involve the cartilage, ligaments, or bones within the hip joint and may require more specialized treatment or intervention.

Why Does My Hip Hurt When I Squat?

Hip pain during squatting can arise from various sources. And pinpointing the exact cause may require a professional assessment. However, here are some common reasons that you must be aware of:

Poor Technique

Squatting with misaligned knees, hips, or an arched back can create undue stress on the hip joint. Proper form requires maintaining alignment throughout the entire movement, and deviations from this can lead to muscle strains or joint irritation. A trainer or therapist can help you refine your technique to avoid these problems.

Muscle Imbalances

If some muscles surrounding the hip are weaker or tighter than others, it can lead to an uneven force distribution. For example, weak glutes might force the hip flexors to work harder, leading to strain and pain. Targeted exercises and stretches can correct these imbalances.

Hip Impingement

This is a condition where the bones of the hip joint rub together abnormally. During squatting, especially deep squats, this rubbing can become pronounced, causing irritation or inflammation in the joint. Treatment might include physical therapy or even surgical intervention in severe cases.


Performing squats too often or with excessive weight without adequate recovery can inflame the tissues around the hip. This overuse might manifest as a dull, lingering pain that worsens with continued exertion. Adequate rest, ice, and a well-balanced training routine can prevent overuse injuries.

Underlying Health Conditions

Conditions like osteoarthritis, where the cartilage in the joint wears down, or bursitis, an inflammation of the cushioning sacs within the joint, can cause chronic hip pain. Squatting might exacerbate this pain. Treatment might require medical intervention, including medications, physical therapy, or lifestyle changes.

Insufficient Warm-up or Stretching

Muscles that are not properly warmed up or stretched before squatting may be more prone to strains and discomfort. A comprehensive warm-up and flexibility routine can prepare the muscles for the demands of squatting.

Individual Anatomy

Every person’s hip structure is slightly different. Some might have a hip shape that predisposes them to pain during certain squatting positions. An assessment from a healthcare provider could reveal specific anatomical considerations, and appropriate modifications to the squatting technique might be necessary.

Understanding the specific cause of hip pain during squatting in your individual case requires a comprehensive approach that might include self-reflection on these points, adjustments to your exercise routine, and possibly consultation with fitness or medical professionals. By addressing the underlying issue, you not only alleviate the immediate pain but also contribute to long-term hip health and overall well-being.

When Should I Worry About Hip Pain When Squatting?

How To Prevent Hip Pain During Squatting Hip pain when squatting can often be attributed to common issues like poor form or muscle tightness, which can be addressed through proper training and stretching. However, there are certain scenarios when hip pain during squatting may be a cause for concern:

  • Persistent Pain

If the pain continues despite rest, stretching, and adjustments to form, it may indicate an underlying issue that needs professional assessment.

  • Sharp or Intense Pain

A sudden sharp or intense pain could signify a more serious injury, such as a tear or strain, that requires immediate attention.

  • Limited Range of Motion

If hip pain is accompanied by stiffness or a decreased range of motion in the joint. Then, it could be a sign of a joint problem like arthritis.

  • Swelling or Bruising

Visible swelling or bruising around the hip joint may signal a more severe injury that needs medical evaluation.

  • Pain Outside of Exercise

If the hip pain continues or even worsens when you’re not squatting or exercising, it may be indicative of a more chronic issue.

  • Previous Injury

If you’ve had a previous injury to the hip or surrounding area, any recurring pain should be taken seriously. And may warrant a visit to a healthcare provider.

  • Ineffectiveness of Home Remedies

If the typical methods of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) don’t alleviate the pain, it’s wise to seek professional guidance.

In any of these scenarios, consulting with a healthcare provider such as a physical therapist, orthopedic specialist, or a knowledgeable fitness professional is advised. They can properly diagnose the issue and create an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.

Should I Stop Squatting If My Hip Hurts?

If your hip hurts while squatting, it’s a signal from your body that something might be wrong. Continuing to squat through the pain could exacerbate the problem and lead to more serious injuries. So, here’s a general approach to help you:

  • Listen to Your Body

If you feel pain, especially sharp or intense pain, it’s wise to stop the activity immediately. Pushing through pain often makes the underlying issue worse.

  • Assess the Severity

Try to gauge the severity of the pain. Is it a mild discomfort that goes away quickly, or is it a sharp, intense pain that lingers?

  • Evaluate Your Technique

If the pain is mild and seems related to your workout, it might be helpful to evaluate your squatting technique. Incorrect form is a common cause of hip pain.

  • Modify or Replace the Exercise

If squatting continues to cause discomfort, you might need to modify the way you’re performing the exercise or temporarily replace it with a less strenuous alternative. This could include reducing the depth of the squat, using support, or performing other leg exercises that don’t stress the hip.

  • Follow a Rehabilitation Plan if Needed

If a specific injury or condition is diagnosed, following a rehabilitation plan designed by a healthcare provider can promote healing and allow you to return to squatting safely.

  • Return Gradually

Once the pain has resolved, consider returning to squatting gradually, paying close attention to form, and perhaps starting with a lighter load or fewer repetitions. Monitoring how your hip responds will help ensure a safe return to the exercise.

Overall, while it may not be necessary to permanently stop squatting, it’s typically wise to pause and address the pain rather than push through it. And working with professionals to properly diagnose and treat the issue can help ensure that you can return to squatting in a way that supports your overall health and fitness goals.

How Do You Fix Hip Pain When Squatting?

How To Prevent Hip Pain During Squatting Fixing hip pain when squatting is a process that often involves identifying the underlying cause and then implementing a targeted strategy to address that specific issue. Here are some general approaches that might be applied, depending on the cause:

  • Assess and Correct Technique: Working with a fitness professional to evaluate and correct your squat form can alleviate pain caused by poor alignment or improper execution.
  • Strengthen Surrounding Muscles: Implementing exercises that strengthen the muscles around the hip. That even including the glutes, hip flexors, and core, can create better stability and reduce strain.
  • Stretch and Increase Flexibility: Incorporating stretching exercises targeting the hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps can alleviate muscle tightness, one of the common contributors to hip pain.
  • Modify the Exercise: Depending on the cause of the pain, modifications to the squatting exercise, such as reducing depth, altering stance, or using a support like a squat rack. These all can make the movement more comfortable.
  • Implement a Proper Warm-up: Ensuring a thorough warm-up that includes dynamic stretches can prepare the muscles and joints for the demands of squatting.
  • Utilize Proper Footwear and Surface: Squatting with supportive footwear on a stable, level surface can aid in maintaining proper alignment throughout the movement.
  • Consult with Healthcare Professionals: For chronic or severe pain, or if the problem persists despite efforts to correct it, consultation with a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist might be necessary. They can conduct a thorough evaluation and possibly recommend treatments like physical therapy, medications, or other medical interventions.
  • Implement Rest and Recovery Strategies: Sometimes, temporary rest from squatting, coupled with strategies like ice to reduce inflammation or heat to increase blood flow, can allow the body to heal naturally.
  • Mind Nutrition and Hydration: Ensuring a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support muscle recovery and proper hydration can also be part of the solution.

The path to fixing hip pain when squatting will likely be a combination of these approaches, tailored to the specific cause and individual needs.


In conclusion, hip pain when squatting is a complex issue. And it can arise from various factors such as improper form, muscle imbalances, overuse, underlying health conditions, and individual anatomy. While it might be tempting to ignore the pain and continue exercising, doing so can lead to more serious problems. Addressing this pain often involves a multifaceted approach and seeking professional guidance when needed.

Understanding and respecting your body’s signals, along with a willingness to make necessary adjustments, are key to maintaining long-term hip health. And continue to enjoy the benefits of squatting as part of a balanced fitness regimen. If you’re experiencing Hip pain, physical therapy for hip pain at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.