• physiomorgan

Sticky Hips Lead to Sore Knees

Updated: May 15, 2020

Why is proper hip mobility so important? Just like the Thoracic Spine's mobility influences the ability of the Lumbar Spine to stabilize (if you missed the last post be sure to go back and check it out!), our Hip mobility influences our Knee stability. If our hips tighten or stiffen up, our body compensates by trying to create mobility at a different body segment - often the knees. This leaves our knees at a greater risk for injury - ACLs, MCLs, and so on.

Just like in the last post about the Thoracic Spine - we are going to do a quick little bit of anatomy before we get into some of my favourite exercises to help get those hips to #MoveBetter so you can reduce your risk of a knee injury.

The Basics:

Hip Anatomy Basics:

- Your hip joint is where your femur (thigh bone) meets your pelvis

- It is a "ball and socket" joint which is why it is so mobile

- As a "ball and socket" joint it relies heavily on strong ligaments and muscles to provide stability/protection

- Some of the largest muscle groups in the body attach around the hip

- Some of those large muscles attach to both the hip AND the knee (like your hamstrings and rectus femoris)

The 3 main areas of restriction I come across at the hips include:

1) Hip flexor tightness

2) Reduced hip rotation

3) Tight hamstrings

A lot of these restrictions are due to the postures and planes of movement we typically find ourselves in. To top it off, when we have restrictions on one side of the body we tend to have weakness on the opposite side. Take you hip flexors for example - these tend to tighten if you have to do consistent prolonged sitting. When they get tight, we also tend to find that the glute muscles become inhibited on the other side.

The Take Away:

To restore optimal mobility and function we need to release what is tight and strengthen what is weak. We start with releasing what's tight so that there is less resistance that the weak muscles have to overcome when we begin re-training them. It is only when we have restored proper mobility to the hips that we can reduce the risk of knee injury.

Hip Mobility Exercises:

What you've all been waiting for! Again, these are some of the ones that I have found to be the most helpful for both myself and a lot of my patients. These mobility exercises include both stretches and self-mobilizations - stretches target the muscle tissue and self-mobilizations work on the joint structures.

1. Shin Box Hip Wipers

The set up:

- Sit with your hips and knees bent to 90

- Try to keep your trunk upright

- If needed you can support yourself with your arms

The Exercise:

- Pivot on your feet to bring your knees up to the ceiling

- Continue to pivot until your in the complete opposite position as where you started

- Try to keep your trunk upright throughout the movement

The Dosage:

2 sets of 10-12 repetitions each side.

2. Knee to Chest

The set up:

- Lay down on your back with your legs extended

The Exercise:

- Bring one knee up towards your chest

- Try to keep the back of the knee of the straightened leg touching the floor

The Dosage:

3 per side, 45s holds.

3. Foam Roller Thomas Stretch

The set up:

- Lay on your back and tuck the foam roller under your tailbone

The Exercise:

- Bring both knees to your chest

- Grab one knee and straighten the other to the ceiling

- Lower the straightened leg towards the floor and relax the knee

The Dosage:

3 per side, 30s holds.

4. Walking Cossack Squat

The set up:

- Stand with your feet spread wide

The Exercise:

- Bend forwards and place your hands on the floor (or as close as you can get)

- Shift your weight and walk your hands towards one leg

- Sink down into a deep squat

- Briefly hold, return to center, and then repeat to the other side

The Dosage:

2 sets of 10-12 repetitions each side.

5. Hip Flexor Ball Release

The set up:

- Place the ball underneath and just to the side of your front hip bone (whether you go away from or towards your mid-line

will determine if you work your TFL or iliopsoas - both are hip flexors)

The Exercise:

- Roll your body on to the ball to apply pressure

- Adjust the ball and/or your body until you find a tender point (this is a trigger point)

- Hold here, only putting enough pressure on it that you can breathe easily, until you feel it "melt"

- BONUS: try putting your leg in the "Figure 4 position" to open up the front of the hip more for release

The Dosage:

Spend about 5 minutes working out each side.

Again - these are just a couple of my favorite ways to open up those hips! As always, some discomfort is OK, but don't continue with the exercise if it causes you pain - chances are there is something else that needs to be worked out so go see your local physio for help.

If you have any questions or suggestions on other information you would find helpful, just shoot me a message! :)

#VelocityPT #GetBetterFaster #HipMobility #KneePain

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