The Humble Hip

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.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.