13 Mar Stretch your Hip Flexors they say….. Are they tight? Or are they in fact weak?
HIP FLEXOR TIGHTNESS DESPITE CONSTANT STRETCHING??
You have gone to your physio, osteo or trainer with let’s say, Lower back pain. After your comprehensive assessment you’ve been told you have weak glutes, which is causing your lower back muscles to become tight. Or so they say!
Weeks go by, you are diligent with all the low level glute exercises they have told you to do, with only minimal results with minimal relief in you back pain! You can feel the exercises working in one hip but not the other, even if you “push your heels through the floor as hard as you can…” Like your physio says…
You begin to think-was something missed? My question to you is, in that first appointment, did your physio, osteo or trainer check your hip flexors? and if so did they mention they may be weak?
Scenario 2: You are a runner. You have been increasing the kilometres as well as your speed as the weather’s getting warmer. All of a sudden, you are struck down with this insidious groin pain! How frustrating! The pain begins to get worse and resting has not improved the pain. You book in for that first appointment with your trusted health professional, who tells you “your hip flexors are tight..” So after a few weeks of constant stretching you get some relief, but no long lasting effects. My question to you is, did your physio say your hip flexors are tight, or are they weak?
Our hip flexors attach from our lower lumbar vertebrae, to the upper inside of our thigh, which means they play a huge role in trunk and pelvic stability. They are the muscle group that create the flexion movement of our hip (bringing our knee to our chest). Unfortunately, due to the prolonged time we spend in sitting postures because of work, school or long periods of driving, our hip flexors don’t get the attention they once did, and as the old saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it….” and inherently they become weak.
What is often the case is that the hip flexors aren’t tight, they are weak! Generally as a population, our hip flexors are becoming extremely weak, which in turn leads to the perceived feeling of tightness as these muscles end up having to work hard in activities they previously didn’t!
Let’s relate this back to our scenarios above:
Scenario 1: Weak and tight hip flexor can alter they was we use other muscles around the hip and pelvis, such as our glutes! In the clinic we often see that a weak and tight hip flexor, often prevents us from using our glutes. Have you ever felt like you can’t feel your glutes working with exercises? Weakness and tightness in the glutes can lead to the body having to compensate. This places more stress other joints within the region such as the lower back and SIJ joints, making them the victim of what is originally your weak hip flexors!
Scenario 2: Our hip flexors are supposed to be one of the most active muscles in our legs when we run. In fact when we run fast, they are the most active muscle! If their strength and capacity is reduced, do you think you’re going to be able to run as effectively as you would like? Probably not! Weakness in your hip flexors creates extra load in the surrounding musle groups such as your quads, adductors and calves in order to get you to that speed you’re trying to run at and as per scenario 1, our glutes which should be the driving chain when we run, often also aren’t working like they should. The body therefore compensates and this can lead to a plethora of injuries and issues throughout the lower body.
WANT TO FIX YOUR HIP FLEXOR TIGHTNESS? CLICK HERE TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT!
How do you fix it!
For a lot of our patients in our clinic, we find muscle release and treatment in this region to be very useful. By releasing a muscle that is overactive and working hard, we are effectively pushing the reset button on allowing it to work as it should!
Once we have optimised your recruitment of this muscle group, exercise will take the place of hands on therapy. Like any other part of the body, strengthening the hip flexors in functional positions in conjunction with other muscles in the region such as the glutes, provides the most successful results.
So next time you’re told to stretch those hip flexors out, I want you to think of one line… “You can’t go wrong being strong” and ensure you ask the question – “are my hip flexors weak?”
If you are experiencing this and the victim of Hip Flexor “Weakness”, don’t worry because we are here to help. Our constant drive is to help as many people as possible live active lives and have them perform the activities they love!
So call us on (03) 9370 0345 or click here so we can get you exactly where you want to be.