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‘These Hips Don’t Lie’

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The Important Role of our Hips

The Hip Joint is one of the most important joints in the body because of the vital role it plays in movement. Whether you’re an athlete wanting to improve technique & performance or a part of the general population who just want to move well, good hip strength & muscle patterning is integral.

There are 3 layers of muscles around the hip; the deep, intermediate, and superficial layers. 

The deep to intermediate muscles prevent excessive impact loading, i.e. from weight bearing activities such as running, and excessive shearing/translation/impingement of the hip, i.e. from the larger superficial muscles being used such as the gluteals, quadriceps & hamstrings.  Weakness and dysfunction can lead to joint damage & patterns of wear.

For athletes, dysfunction could mean that the order of activation from deep to superficial is not occurring. Or, muscles are not activating at all and the body has compensated by over activating muscles in other areas to achieve a certain action. 

Re-training patterns, strengthening or providing specific feedback to the right areas can be key in reaching sporting goals. This can be done through strengthening in sports specific exercises often combining sporting movements with gym-based exercises.

For the general population, a mixture of habits, creating any type of exercise routine and increasing movement in everyday life can improve strength and movement patterns.

Prolonged sitting is a big contributor to weakness and dysfunction in the hip. The muscles around the hip are either constantly in a lengthened position (gluteals) or contracted position (hip flexors) when seated for long periods of time.

Think about how long you sit throughout a day – at breakfast, to/from work, at work, dinner, watching television at night?

Think about how long you actually move or exercise in a day – 30-40 minutes out of a ~12hr day?

What can I do?

Firstly, try to reduce your sitting time – set reminders to get up every half an hour. What else can I do? Try performing some exercises at work! Try some squats/sit to stands at your desk to get those hip muscles activating, (if there’s room) get some glute bridges or ‘fire hydrants’ (work your way up to the advanced version) into your day or even incorporate a lunchtime walk, even for 10-15 minutes. Not only will this help to maintain balanced and functional muscles, research has shown this is great for the brain therefore work efficiency!

Secondly, Physiotherapy has a lot to offer in guiding and developing hip strength and stability. Physiotherapists can assess and treat dysfunctional muscles so they can start to build up in strength. As well as give guidance on the right hip exercises and progressions to reach your goals (and prevent dysfunction returning), whether with a sport or general hip strength and stability focus.

Book in with one of our therapists for a hip assessment, where they can collaborate with you to create a relevant treatment plan, and help you achieve all your functional goals!


Looking to Make an Appointment?

PhysioWest has 2 locations and a Mobile care. Online booking is the quickest most convenient way to lock in the location, practitioner & time you want. Of course if you need help, call, email or live chat with us.