You often hear of hip mobility when speaking to athletes and sports med doctors. The idea that the hip needs to move properly to affect the rest of the body positively is a HUGE move in the sports medicine world. No longer relegated to “piriformis syndrome” or “sciatica” the basics to restoring true hip motion has become big business and a big treatment. Let me help you understand the enormity of the hip and why it is such a key player in true sports medicine.
The attachment of the hip is where the glute muscles (causing sciatic pain), TFL (IT band), adductors (groin) and almost all of the pelvis muscles run to and from (low back and sacrum). The pelvis is the key to the body and the hip joint is where the motion should happen to keep the Pelvic area stable.
Very simply stated, some joints should allow for motion and joints that allow for stability. These joints work together allowing the body optimal function. The ankle and foot should allow for motion, the knee for stability, the hip for motion and the low back for stability, the shoulder for motion and the upper and mid back for stability, the neck is a funky combo of both. This sounds logical in a seminar or paper but this is big business guys. Did you know the ankle is tested over and over again in NFL athletes? Why? Because decreased motion of the ankle is a predictor of ACL tears (and that’s a loss of business). An ankle that lacks motion shows higher rates of -not ankle issues- but knee issues – the lack of mobility in a motion type joint leads to additional (and not wanted) motion in a stability joint. That’s why restoring motion is so paramount to proper healing and athletics.
Getting back to the hip, if your hip isn’t allowing for motion, the low back and knee will almost always compensate and start moving too much. These joints don’t like this and get sore and scream at you to stop. They are sending off the warning sirens! It’s so common in fact, that I will hardly even assess a knee or low back injury without assessing hip motion, they go hand in hand.
So how do you keep the hip moving and functional? Well I’ve gone overboard the last year preaching in the office and through seminars that it’s not just stretching. You need to see if you are lacking internal or external rotation and if the hip itself is mobile. I’m sorry to report you may need a little help with this.
You can check your hip motion fairly well in a chair. Sit, move one leg to a figure 4 – this will test glute shortness – if this is hard, you probably need to stretch. Now sitting again, move your lower leg out away from midline – if this is hard – you need to get your glutes activated – not stretch but contractions!
External (more often than not its decent)
Internal (usually terrible)
There are some basics that help to properly restore motion, so try this. Just like you would warm up shoulder and ankles before starting a workout, make sure you are warming up the hip prior to competition and especially if you are having issues. The hip is tricky, it rarely hurts, but like the police say “The victims scream and the culprits hide”. More than likely the hip is involved if you are feeling any low back or knee issue or if you are just feeling a step or two slow.
Stop sitting – its killing your game – move your computers to a standing position when you can and sit less. Look up videos like Kelly Starrett’s “Couch Stretch” (very tough AND effective) and “Hip Extention” on you tube – Kelly is one of the best ever in the game and has tons of info, books and videos that teach you how to maintain your body – he writes the way I think and our ideas about the body are insanely similar. Get into the office – sometimes you just need help with joint mobility and chiropractic just speeds up the process – let us get that moving properly.
Here’s a couple moves that should be done DAILY in this order
2) hamstring activation
3) glute contraction
4) hamstring contraction (chair move)
5) quad stretch
Hip Extension – get into a deep lunge and get that hip opened up!
Do 10 step backs into this position.
Hip Flexion – key for ankle, hip, knee and pelvic motion.
15 reps and hold each for a second or two (advance to :30 seconds).
There are a lot of things you can do to help mobility and proper motion in the hip, but this joint is complex and sometime it just needs chiropractic and muscle work to allow for a speedy and full recovery. If you need help let us help you get your mechanics back and get you back in the game!