Can Ellipticals Cause Hip Pain? (Yes! – Prevention Tips)

Elliptical machines are ideal for offering a comprehensive full-body workout. Used correctly, they are a great addition to your workout routine. Used incorrectly, however, an elliptical machine can put you at risk of pain and injury.  

If you have been wondering, "Can elliptical cause hip pain?" then you are in the right place - and we can help to reduce this risk of this.

One of the main issues that can arise from elliptical machines is hip pain - but just how is this caused? There are a number of possible reasons, and we will explore these below.

1. Unnatural Movement

One of the biggest issues commonly associated with ellipticals is that they tend to cause an unnatural walking gait for many people. This can result in your hips being put under greater pressure, increasing the risk of injury. The feet are planted in one place, restricting the body's natural movement.

Ordinarily, when walking, your legs will swing and move from the toes, up the joints, and to the top of the head. An elliptical, however, prevents this, and this can result in stress on the joints, as well as the potential for injury. 

2. Overuse 

Overuse is another major issue that can occur when using your elliptical - there is a common issue if you find that you are enjoying your workout, as this tends to be when you start to ignore aches, pains, and twinges. 

It is crucial that you listen to your body and give yourself a break if you are experiencing pain in the hips - or anywhere else in the body. Continuing to use the elliptical could make an injury much worse, so listen to your body and switch to another form of exercise, such as swimming, until your injury recovers and heals. 

The elliptical can be really tough for some people. If the elliptical feels unnaturally hard for you, check out our guide to see how you might be using the elliptical incorrectly.

3. Posture  

Another major cause of injury is poor posture while using the machine - you need to remember to keep your back straight, shoulders back, and your core tight. Always look straight ahead, and resist the urge to lean either back or forwards - this puts additional strain on your hips. 

You also need to take care to maintain a comfortable, even stride, and ensure that your arms and legs are balanced throughout your workout. 

4. Lack of Stability  

A lack of stability can also contribute to the chances of hip pain and injury. Compared with natural walking, ellipticals can place greater stress and strain on the joints of the hips and knees. This, combined with the back of weight-bearing, can weaken joints and reduce bone density. 

While low-impact exercise can be beneficial, it can cause more significant issues in hip and knee joints and boosts your risk of tendonitis, knee, and other hip problems. It can also reduce core stability, which can throw you off balance. 

5. Decreased Range Of Motion 

Ellipticals force movement on a track, and this reduces the length of strides. It also reduces the chance for the hip to move through its entire range of motion. Instead, your hip will flex, and this can result in imbalances in the quadriceps. Over time, hip flexors can become tight and dominant while the glutes and hamstrings grow weaker.

As the hamstrings grow weak, they do not work as hard to slow your legs as they move forwards. Over time, there can be excessive pulling on kneecaps, and this can cause hip pain. 

Related Article - How To Protect Knees On Elliptical

Can Ellipticals Cause Hip Pain? (Yes! – Prevention Tips)

Preventing Hip Pain During Elliptical Workouts 

There are methods that you can use to reduce the risk of hip pain while using an elliptical, and these include:

Use Proper Footwear 

Good footwear is essential for avoiding injury when exercising, and this is particularly important for running or using an elliptical.

It is a good idea to get properly fitted by a running specialist - this will ensure that you are properly balanced while working out and reduce your risk of injury. 

If you're in the market for new sneakers, check out our comprehensive guide to the best running shoes for flat feet here.

Keep A Good Posture 

Maintaining a correct posture is also crucial for helping you to avoid injury - the most common mistake that many users make is to lean forward as they exercise, which puts extra pressure on the hips and lower back. 

It is essential to continually check in with your posture as you work out to ensure that you are keeping your shoulders back, head up and back straight. Maintaining correct form is one of the most important priorities when working out, but this is particularly relevant on the elliptical. 

Don’t Overdo The Resistance 

You also need to take care not to overdo the resistance - it is a good idea to start low and build your way up. Starting with a resistance level that is too high will push the hip flexor muscles too far, and this will lead to pain, stiffness and, in some cases, injury.

As we have mentioned, you should never exercise on a sore muscle, or you risk making an existing injury worse. If you want more intensity in your workout, increase the speed of the stroke rather than boost the intensity level. 

Pre-Workout Warm-Up 

One of the most important considerations for reducing injury is to ensure that you warm up properly prior to your workout. Stretch your hip flexors, and give your muscles a chance to get the blood moving before you exercise - trying to exercise on cold muscles is a sure-fire way to cause serious pain. 

If you don't stretch before your workouts, you're truly missing out. Review our guide to the benefits of stretching to see how important it really is!

person warming up before exercise

How To Relieve Hip Pain After Elliptical Workout 

If you do suffer hip pain after elliptical training, the first thing to do is take some time away from your workouts or switch to stretches and swimming - these tend to be lower impact. Continuing to use the elliptical with an injury will only make the pain worse and could result in serious long-term tears and damage. 

Mild elliptical hip pain can be dealt with and alleviated at home in some cases - stretches can help to improve the flexibility of your hips and should be combined with heat treatments to help reduce inflammation and pain. 

In some cases, however, elliptical hip flexor pain will need to be treated by a doctor - if you find that your pain is extreme and impacts your everyday life, if it impacts your ability to walk, or if it remains after several days, you should seek assistance from a medical professional. 

woman foam rolling to relieve hip pain

Elliptical Machine Hip Pain FAQs

Can you exercise on an elliptical if you already have hip pain? 

If you already suffer from hip pain, it is a good idea to opt for an alternative to the elliptical. The issues that can come with this type of workout tend to be exacerbated when you are already experiencing issues related to your hips. To avoid making your injury or pain worse, try swimming, cycling, or other low-impact exercises.

How long should I exercise on an elliptical machine when I have hip pain? 

If you start to notice twinges of pain in your hips, you should stop using the elliptical straight away - continuing to exercise can increase or exacerbate an injury that may have been in the early stages. Switch to an alternative workout for a few days, rest, and return once you see an improvement.

What is the best exercise for reducing hip pain? 

The best exercise for reducing hip pain after using elliptical machines is to open and stretch the hip flexors using lunges. To achieve this, put your left knee on the floor, and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Place your right foot flat down on the ground, and place your hands on your hips. 

Move your torso and pelvis forward ever so slightly - you will start to feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. When you feel tension, hold the stretch. As the flexor becomes looser and more flexible, you will be able to deepen the stretch. 


Conclusion

One of the main concerns that many people have is "Can the elliptical cause hip pain?" Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes - there can be a connection between hip pain and the elliptical machine. Due to both the nature of the machine itself and the way in which it is used - care must be taken to ensure safety and success.