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Hip Bone or Joint Injury

Hip Stress Fracture Treatment

Minute Read


Posted 2 months ago


by James McCormack

Hip Stress Fracture Treatment

Treatment for hip stress fracture varies depending on the cause of the stress fracture. Understanding the cause of a stress fracture is essential for a successful recovery. 

Generally, treatment of a stress fracture of the hip will consist of a period of time of non-weight bearing, with the use of crutches for all mobility. This allows for the bone to heal. In many cases, upper body and non-weight-bearing exercises can continue during this period.

However, if there is any risk of displacement, it may be recommended for all exercise must stop. Sometimes this even includes non-weight-bearing exercises such as swimming or upper-body weight training. This often depends on the location of the fracture, the severity, and the health of the individual.

Physical therapy will be needed to direct rehabilitation, aiming to recover lost muscle strength, balance and coordination, improve hip mobility and guide the gradual return to previous activities.

Here are some of the common causes that may need additional treatment:

Systemic Medical Conditions

Conditions such as Vitamin D deficiency, osteopenia and osteoporosis, amenorrhea, eating disorders/food restriction, and high emotional stress levels can all increase hip stress fracture risk. This may need additional treatment with medication, dietary changes, and psychological support.


Training errors such as a rapid increase in running volume, ineffective or absent strength and conditioning, and insufficient recovery can contribute to hip stress fractures and will benefit from education around safe training practices and varied running surfaces.

Biomechanics & Footwear

Poor biomechanics, such as excessive foot pronation, as well as poorly chosen or worn footwear, can increase the risk of hip stress fractures. These factors can be assessed and addressed by your physical therapist.

Hip stress fracture recovery time

For most people, the period of non-weight-bearing will last between 4-8 weeks. but the recovery time of a stress fracture in the hip varies from person to person. Imaging will be repeated to check the status of the healing bone before returning to partial weight-bearing and gradually returning to full weight-bearing.  Most people feel almost back to normal by 12 weeks, but it can take up to 4-6 months for the fracture to be fully healed and to return to unrestricted high-impact exercise such as running.

Hip stress fracture recovery time can be influenced by the individual’s general health, previous medical history, regular medications, bone health, pre-injury strength, as well as the contributing factors to the cause of the hip stress fracture mentioned previously. Adherence to physical restrictions and rest, and physical therapy during the healing process will also significantly affect healing time.


Hip Stress Fracture Exercises

Once the initial period of non-weight bearing has passed and scans have confirmed the bone is healing well, rehab can start. The initial phase of rehab will focus on the mobility of the hip joint and flexibility of the muscle of the leg and trunk. This will include stretches for the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, calf, back, and abdominals.

Glute Stretch

Photo of man stretching gluteals

Hamstring Stretch

Photo of man doing a hamstring stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Phot of man stretching hip flexor


Later phases of rehabilitation include strengthening the muscles around the hip, the leg and the trunk. Also in this phase will be rehab focused on improving balance, coordination and proprioception of the hip, and any other biomechanical factors that may have contributed to the development of the hip stress fracture.

Glute Bridge

Photo of James McCormack performing a single leg glute bridge exercise

Hip Abduction

Photo of man doing a hip abduction exercise

Core Strengthening

Photo of James McCormack performing a core exercise with hip flexion

The final phases of rehab are increasing impact and a gradual return to high-impact exercises, such as running. 

Hip Stress Fracture From Running

A hip stress fracture is a common injury from running. This is due to the high impact of running as an exercise, and the high repetition of the exercise, especially in long-distance running.

Many runners do not enjoy gym work and often do not cross-train, the running world also encourages a very lean physical appearance, and both of these factors can increase the risk of a hip stress fracture from running. Endurance events such as marathons and ultramarathons are growing in popularity. We must educate ourselves and others to limit the risk of this major injury. Ensuring that our bodies have enough strength, control, flexibility, and recovery, as well as energy and nourishment, to absorb the training that we stress our bodies will reduce our risk.  So that we can keep running so many of us love to do.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments.

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