The Importance of Hip Strength

Importance of Hip Strength and Flexibility

The hip and knee are very common sites of pain in individuals that have weak and inflexible hip flexors, extensors, abductors, and adductors. Research supports that having a strong and flexible lower core can help alleviate lower back, knee, and even ankle pain. At Evolution Sports Physiotherapy, our physical therapists work with patients to increase strength and flexibility of these muscles in order to improve performance and help individuals get back to their daily routines and sports.

The hip extensors include the gluteal group (Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus) and hamstrings (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, and Semitendinosus). These muscles play a crucial role in every day activities. Take standing up from a seated position for example. When you go to stand up, you are activating your hip extensors to move your pelvis from a posterior tilt (where your pelvis tilts backwards) to a neutral position so you can stand up. Weak hip extensors can force the body to put unnecessary pressure on joints (i.e. lower back, hip, knee, ankle) when performing basic movements because they cannot support the body, and as a result, there is joint pain.

Like the hip extensors, strength and flexibility of the hip flexors is also very important. The main muscles that flex the hip include the Psoas Major, Iliacus, Rectus Femoris, and some of the hip adductors. Some daily activities that the hip flexors assist with include walking, climbing stairs, and sitting up from a reclined position. Weak and inflexible hip flexors can also result in joint pain and restricted mobility.

The hip abductors and adductors assist in lateral movements. Hip abduction would consist of moving your leg away from the midline in a lateral manner, while hip adduction would consist of moving that leg back towards your midline. The hip abductors include the Gluteus Medius and Minimus and the Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL). The hip adductors include the Adductor Longus, Brevis, and Magnus, as well as the Pectinius and Gracilis.

A lot of runners and cyclists, as well as individuals that live a sedentary lifestyle, tend to have pain in their knees and hips more than other joints. The reason being is that the movement they are performing is moving their legs forwards and backwards, abandoning lateral movements (or in the sedentary life style, abandoning much movement at all). Along the lateral portion of the leg is the ilio-tibial band (IT Band). The IT Band is a lateral thickening of connective tissue that reinforces the TFL and assists in flexion, abduction, and medial rotation of the hip. The IT Band runs from the fibers of the  upper Gluteus Medius and TFL to the lateral portion of the tibia (larger lower leg bone) just below the knee. Abandoning lateral movements can cause tightness of the IT Band, putting pressure on the acetabulum (hip joint) and knee cap, which results in hip and knee pain.

Evolution Sports PT is a state-of-the-art therapy clinic located in Cockeysville, MD that is dedicated to helping individuals improve performance and get back to daily routines. Evolution Sports, located in Cockeysville, MD, provides a facility for individuals to come and receive rehabilitation as well as personal training and strength and conditioning training from our highly trained staff. Come visit us at 10540 York Rd. Suite F-G, Cockeysville, MD 21030 or give us a call at 410-628-0520!

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