One of the most commoninjuries and dysfunctions seen by physical therapists is limited hipmobility. It doesn’t seem to matter theage or physical condition of a person, physical therapists across the boardconsistently report patients coming in with low back or hip pain that all seemsto be related to hip mobility. To treatthis common ailment, they recommend a series of stretches and fascia massagesto aid in external rotation and flexion of the hip joint for full movement,pain relief, and full athletic performance.
The hips are made upof fascia and soft tissue which can become hard and inflexible if not stretchedor massaged regularly. One of the best thingstrainers and therapists recommend is foam rolling the sides of the hips,glutes, and fronts of the quads a few times a week. A therapist can teach the technique, but thisis an exercise one can do on their own after purchasing a roller for home. If the hips are extremely tight, a softballcan be used to narrow in on the smaller areas of fascia and rotatormuscles. When rolling on either a foamroller or a softball, experts recommend putting as much body weight into thedevice as possible, and holding the stretch or pressure until the musclecompletely relaxes before slowly rolling forward to the next area.
One stretch that canbe done at home for tight glutes that limit external rotation is to use aresistance band to hold the muscle in a stretched position. If a resistance band is not available, thefoot of one leg can be crossed over the knee, and from a hands and kneesposition the muscle can be stretched by using the opposite thigh as resistance.
The Spiderman stretchis also helpful for stretching external rotators and improving activeflexibility. From a plank position, stepone foot forward into a lunge outside the hands and shoulders. Press the body weight into the outside leg,letting the knee turn out to stretch the rotators. Hold for 5-10 second then switch sides.
Hip mobility canaffect functionality of the spine, legs, and even shoulders. It’s important to stretch and care for thesedelicate muscles to ensure the body is pain free, and performs at topcapability for any activities one may engage in.
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