The hip joint, and the muscles surrounding it, are essential for movement and day-to-day life.
Often we don’t think of our hips as an area to take care of, but if we neglect the area (or injure it) our clients are usually surprised by how much it impacts them.
What do our hip muscles actually do?
Our hip muscles, often referred to as our hip flexors, assist in stabilising and moving the legs. They also help the legs move upwards towards our abdominals and trunk (as well as our trunk down to our legs), allowing us to lean forward, stand up straight and move freely. Despite being smaller muscles, they exist in a complex “web” which helps to connect other muscles within the body.
What causes problems with hip flexors?
Due to their complex set-up, it can be easy for the hip flexors (or even just one hip flexor) to become tight or weak. This could be due to excessive sedentary behaviours, like sitting at a desk or driving a car, limited use or overuse of particular areas. These (or even a combination of them) can be major causes for hip flexor issues, and although sometimes slow to onset, will make your life very difficult if left untreated.
How would I know if my hips are in good shape?
A lot of the functions we need from our hips stem from flexibility and range of movement. That being said, if we have a poor range of movement this can usually be the first sign your hips need some attention. Pain, stiffness and difficulty moving – for example, lifting your legs high enough when going up stairs, difficulty twisting/standing, a sore back/glutes and issues feeling comfortable in resting positions can all be signs that your hips need some extra care.
How can my physiotherapist help?
Involving your physiotherapist is the first step to getting the best from your body, and helping to ease discomfort in your hip flexors. They will be able to assess your range of movement, flexibility and work with you to develop a stretching and massage routine to ensure you are getting the most from your body. If your hips aren’t in good shape, your physiotherapist can use a range of other strategies to help rehabilitate your hips, and get you moving freely again.