How to Deal With Hip Pain on Elliptical Trainers?

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It is a well-known fact that elliptical trainers facilitate low-impact exercise regimes for people.

Still, despite the low-impact nature of the machine, which is advantageous for individuals restricted by shock movements, there are chances of hip pain when using this machine.

The reasons are many—it might be due to improper use of the machine, the difference in the height of the individual using the machine, or variations in elliptical models.

It is possible to make certain adjustments to get rid of the hip problem.

So, the next question is whether or not it is advisable to use an elliptical when in pain? The general opinion is yes, but the cause of the pain is also an important determining factor.

For better cardiovascular benefits, higher calorie-burning abilities, and general health, an elliptical trainer is a good choice to achieve all these without affecting the back and hip.

Sometimes, standing up and doing exercises might increase pain levels in the body. Hence, before doing any exercise, it is always better to get your physician’s opinion and be confident about using any fitness equipment.

Once the doctor checks your body conditions, the answers to using an elliptical without hurting the bad become explicit.

Side Effects of Hip Pain

Hip pain affects overall body functionality and has a disabling effect on daily chores. Hence, it should be treated as early as possible.

Other Major Causes of Hip Pain

Besides osteoarthritis, pain in the joint area could be due to other diseases or pain radiating to the hip from neighboring body parts.

Whatever could be the reason, a physician must do a thorough examination and an in-and-out questioning of the individual to single out the causes.

Some of the most important factors that could cause hip arthritis include:

Sedentary Lifestyle

Haven’t we heard individuals complaining about having a sedentary lifestyle? Being a couch potato might seem good, but it has debilitating effects on the body in the long run.

Leading a sedentary life bears a great risk of hip pain. Sitting for long can cut the spine off its blood and nutrient supply. Hence, it is necessary to get up and get going.

Performing any aerobic activities promotes the delivery of nutrients to the spine and an elliptical trainer, being one of the best aerobic exercises, is an ideal choice for the same.

The Injury Remains Unnoticed Due to the Pain

Sometimes, the lesions can go unnoticed, but, in due course, they become disabling. Such instances are frequently witnessed with hip conflict.

Especially in the younger generation, such hip injuries are possible due to a shock that’s experienced between the head of the femur and the joint cavity—this is commonly observed as a result of wide movements in flexion while performing dance movements, martial arts, or playing football, rugby, etc.

Such pain becomes distinct with the hip turned inward. While the frequency of the pain is common in sportsmen and women, sadly, it is not well-known and remains insufficiently treaded.

Leaving untreated pain leads to debilitating consequences such as osteoarthritis, which ruins our health in the long run.

On the other hand, getting an early diagnosis makes the treatment process easier and avoids any further aggravation of the pain.

It might require a surgical procedure to treat the pain and prevent the risk of osteoarthritis.

Conditions Under which Someone Must Refrain from using an Elliptical Trainer

Spinal flexion

The elliptical trainer is not the right fitness equipment for use for anyone suffering from a herniated disc. Using this machine depends on the type of pain that any individual is suffering.

Imagine being on the elliptical—here, the body is much more forward than when we walk. Such forward bending can aggravate the herniated disc, increasing pain multi-fold times.

On the elliptical, the arms also follow the same motion of the handlebars, thereby causing a slight twist to the spine.

Hence, this twisting of the spine coupled with the forward bending posture can put the individual at a higher risk of disc degeneration. So, stop using the elliptical during such times.


Some people suffer from a lack of bone density, or what’s commonly called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis of the pelvis and spine could cause back pain.

For such people, it is better to look for alternative machines that offer good cardio-respiratory training to rebuild bone mass.

Generally, the low-impact nature of the elliptical trainer is an advantage for some. But, for some others, such low impact means that the workout doesn’t lead to the needed tension required for bone growth.

The impact of the exercise on the body is a key factor that decides upon the increased or decreased bone density of the body.

Hence, individuals suffering from osteoporosis are advised to take up walking as the primary form of exercise to enhance bone growth and reduce back pain.

Hip Osteoarthritis

People suffering from osteoarthritis need one or the other activity to stay healthy. The best exercise against osteoarthritis is any gentle activity that can promote pain relief.

Moving around is necessary for good cartilage vascularization, enhancing the mobility of the hip joint, and strengthening the periarticular muscles surrounding the joint.

Together, all these minimize the risk of falling and promise a better quality of life for the individual.

Above all, any form of physical activity is a good tactic to promote weight loss, which applies less pressure on the hip, a weight-bearing joint.

The Core Advantages of Using an Elliptical

There are a plethora of benefits that could be reaped by any individual using the elliptical, the most important of which is the reduced impact on the body.

On an elliptical, the feet stay on the pedals throughout, and hence, there is no impact on the body throughout the exercising session.

Contrarily, when we jog on the ground, moving the feet over the ground reverberated all through the body. This is mainly because the feet come in direct contact with the ground, and the load is distributed to the ankle, knees, hip, and back, including the joints.

When an individual experiences any impact on the spine, the pain level increases. For such individuals, using an elliptical takes away any such impact or compression on the spine while using the fitness equipment.

Dealing with Pain when Working Out on an Elliptical Machine

Irrespective of the problem, if any individual wishes to train on an elliptical undergoing minimal pain, the best solution is to get hold of a hip brace.

The braces are strong, highly elastic, lightweight, and breathable, made of neoprene blend material. Hence, they fit comfortably and strongly and offer a calm grip while working out.

So, using a hip brace relieves much pain, thereby enhancing protection and offering support to all joints on the hip.

Solutions for Hip Pain

There are multiple solutions for minimizing hip pain, but it all depends on its cause.

For instance, when an individual suffers from osteoarthritis, physicians recommend going for analgesic treatment that primarily involves paracetamol (acetaminophen) while having hip pain.

Don’t quit physical activity during such times but continue doing gentle ones such as aqua gym, stretching, physical activity, and more. We can strengthen the muscles and maintain mobility in the hip area by doing this.

Try incorporating physiotherapy and physiotherapy exercises to keep the joints mobilized without injuring them.

But, despite all such efforts, when the joint remains damaged, surgery might be the best option where the joint is replaced with a prosthesis.

Inflammatory rheumatism can be treated with corticosteroids, methotrexate, or sulfasalazine medications.

But, if the lingering pain is due to injury or shock, rehabilitation and rest are the best treatment solutions.

Refrain from Pain by Following an Exercise Regime at Home

For pain relief, exercises must be performed twice or thrice a week. Add strength to the hip muscles, prevent hip pain, or accelerate the pain by doing stretching and strengthening exercises.

Avoid training into the pain but aim toward protecting the hip joint from the pain.

Exercise 1: Cycling

Before engaging in an exercise routine, cycling is one of the best warm-ups provided to the hip muscles.

We are not talking about the cycling equipment here but the physical exercise. For this, lie on the back such that the spine is in direct contact with the floor.

Imitate the cycling motion by lifting the legs off the floor at the required angle.

Exercise 2: Stretch the Hip Flexors

Performing this exercise helps stretch the flexor muscles of the hip. Form a step position with the left foot at the back and the right foot at the front and walk with an upright upper body.

Stretch the knee of the leg that’s back and keep the front leg in a slightly bent position.

Shifting the center of gravity to the front leg, the pelvis must be pushed forward, and by doing this, the stretch in the back leg’s groin is nicely seen.

It’s time to raise the left arm and tilt the upper body to the opposite side. Stay in this stretched position for 20 seconds and then shift sides.

Exercise 3: Strengthen the Hip Flexors

Doing this exercise promotes the strength of the hip flexor muscles. Keep the upper body straight and walk in the crotch position where the back leg and its opposite arm are in a stretched position.

The other leg and arm are in a bent position. Now, change the arms while simultaneously pushing the rear leg forward such that it bends. Do 15 repetitions of the exercise with each leg.

Exercise 4: Stretching the Iliotibial tract

Whichever leg you stretch, cross it behind the supporting leg. Stretch the equilateral arm over the head, slightly tilt the spine to the side, and push the pelvis towards the leg that you stretch.

Hold still in this position for 20 seconds on either side. Doing this exercise provides a good stretch to the Iliotibial tract in the fascia on the outer side of the thigh.

Exercise 5: Mobilize the Hip Joint

Doing this exercise helps in stretching the abductors in the hip joint. Keep the legs widely stretched and keep a towel under the foot to be moved.

Push this foot outwards while the other foot remains in a slightly bent foot and repeat the movement with either leg around 15 times.

Final Thoughts

The hip is a complex but fragile part of the body. So, any wrong positioning or movement of the hip can shoot up pain levels multi-fold times in any individual who already suffers from hip pain.

Choose to use the elliptical trainer depending on whether or not the hip pain-related issue would aggravate when using the machine.

Remember that ellipticals can be hazardous to the hip and back. Hence, it is always better to get in touch with your physician before using the machine. This is especially important for individuals who are new to the elliptical or beginner trainers.

Besides using medications, using corrective exercises to reduce hip pain can solve hip-related problems. It is also possible to use an elliptical machine as a corrective exercise technique.

Performing additional cardio exercises such as swimming and walking are also good choices for people with lower back pain.

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