Do you feel like you lack good motion in your hips? Struggle with hip discomfort when you do some or most activities?
Let’s talk about how to get your hips moving, and feeling better and stronger.
First, let’s look at the hip joint.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. Unlike our knee joint, it means it should be able to move in several directions.
The healthy hip joint allows you to move the thigh bone forward, backward, side-to-side, turn it in and turn it out. It is also a joint that allows you to bend forward like a hip hinge or a waiter’s bow motion.
There are several reasons we may lose motion in our joints.
What we have learned
What we do
All of these can create habits that can lead to further breakdown of the hip joints.
A common type of hip discomfort is in the front of the hip. It can start with feelings of tightness like if you could just stretch the front of the hip, then pinching with certain movements, and finally pain.
When the hip joint moves the thigh bone should stay centered in the socket as we see in the first picture. When there are muscle imbalances around the hip joint, the thigh bone can begin to migrate off-center. (As seen in the second picture).
When the bone is off center for extended periods of time, movement after movement the structures like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and labrum can begin to wear down.
Common activities that can create issues in the hip:
How we sit and stand can affect our hip position:
Sitting with your pelvis tucked under you rather than up on your SITS bones.
Standing on your heels or standing with the pelvis tucked underneath you or with your glutes squeezed together even a little.
Certain exercises and the way they are performed. A couple of examples include:
The bridge exercise: Often the cue is to lift as high as you can and sneeze at the top.
The squat and deadlift patterns, with the squeeze as you come up or thrust the hips forward.
After reading this if you think your hip issues may be happening because of some of the things you do, start to make some easy changes first.
Check yourself and see how you are standing and sitting.
You should be up on your SITS bones, the bones at the bottom of your glutes, and not on the back side of your pelvis. (Refer to the photos above.)
To take the pressure off your hips when you are standing, get into the habit of getting your weight square over your feet. Rather than standing on your heels, shift your weight on both feet so you have an equal weight between the base of your small toes, the base of your big toes, and your heels. Then think of creating space between your SITS bone or the bottom of your glutes.
You may initially feel like you are leaning forward and that is because you are used to being on your heels.
You can carry some of these same ideas into your exercise. Stay square over your feet when doing exercises like squats, hinges, and even your upper body exercises. Avoid squeezing your glutes together during exercises. If you are in good alignment and loading correctly your glutes will work just like they are supposed to without the extra pressure on your hips.
If this information is new to you, you have questions about your hips, or want to set an appointment to come in and review your posture or how you are doing your exercises…reach out. We can help.