3 Reasons Why Your Squat May Be Causing Your Hip Pain, And How To Fix It

Author – Dane Ford

Please note this post was submitted by a guest fitness professional and may or may not reflect the views of Kafui Fitness.

The squat is an awesome exercise for building athletic power and strength for a range of different sports.  However, pain in the front of the hips from squatting is also very common. This can often present as conditions known as femoral acetabular impingement (FAI), or hip labrum tears.

Here are three reasons why your squat may be causing you hip pain, and tips on how to fix it:

Number one  –  Ankle Mobility

If you’re squatting with stiff or restricted ankles then you limit your ability to squat to full depth without compensating somewhere further up the chain (often putting increased pressure on the hips).  One quick way to measure your ankle mobility is the knee-to-wall test.  Start with your foot up against a wall and see if you are able to touch your knee to the wall, keeping your heel on the floor. Begin to slide your foot away from the wall and measure the maximum distance from your big toe to the wall whilst keeping your knee touching the wall and your heel on the floor. As a general guide – to be able to perform a deep squat, 10 centimetres on the knee-to-wall test is a good number to aim for.

Ankle mobility can be restricted for a number of different reasons, such as muscular tightness or a restriction within the joint itself. Ankle mobility stretches are a great way to try to improve your ankle mobility and your squat, especially if the restriction is caused by soft-tissue tightness.

Number Two –  Hip Mobility and Hip Joint Structure

Another cause of pain in the hip during squats can be due to poor hip mobility. This can sometimes be due to tightness of the muscles  in your glutes (stretching and mobility drills will help this).

Other times the reason why anterior hip pain occurs during the squat is due to the structure of the hip joint itself (for example, having a deep ball and socket joint versus having a shallow ball and socket joint). Unfortunately, this is a genetic factor and there’s not much you can do to change this.  However, one thing you can do is find the right squat stance for you, based on your individual joint structure – Play around with your foot position during the squat (for example, you  may need to have your feet slightly narrower or wider apart, or you may need to have your toes pointing straight ahead or turned out slightly) to find the position that works best for you.

Number Three – Core Stability

The inability to maintain a good spinal position during the squat can also contribute to anterior hip pain.  For example, if your pelvis tilts too far forwards during a squat leading to ‘anterior pelvic tilt’ and excessive lumbar spine extension, this can put pressure on the front of the hips.

Make sure your core is strong and that you are able to maintain a relatively neutral spine to maximise your squat performance.


Dane Ford is a Physiotherapist and founder of “Lift Physiotherapy and Performance” in Sydney.



Prevalence of Femoroacetabular Impingement Imaging Findings in Asymptomatic Volunteers: A Systematic Review.