Some people think of the hip as the back near the tailbone or the sides of their pelvis. What I'm referring to is the true hip: the ball and socket joint anchoring your femur into the pelvis.
With the hip joints tight, the body has to use other joints such as the low back or knee to make up for the lack of movement. We see this in the flared up sacroiliac (SI) joint in the pickup game softball player or the achy knee in the weekend runner. I have witnessed significant decreases in pain in low back and knees by just loosening up the hips.
To test your hip flexibility, try these (Note: Do not attempt on your own if experiencing any pain or limitations at this time): 1. Sit on a bench or bed so that your feet are not touching the floor. Rotate your feet inward. This tests hip external rotation. See how far you can go. Most people do OK with this test. 2. While still sitting on the bench, rotate so your feet are going outward. This tests hip internal rotation. Most people are limited with this range of motion. 3. Sit crosslegged and put both feet together and lean forward with a straight back. How far could you go down? 4. Stand and try to touch your toes with your knees straight. Were you able to go down? 5. Lunge forward and try to bring your upper body with your elbows touching the ground. Were you able to stretch forward? 6. Can you perform a deep body weight squat with your heels on the floor and your back straight?
I have really enjoyed seeing patients improve with their low back, knees, and ankles this year by improving their hip mobility. A program of chiropractic sports adjusting for the hip, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, kinesio taping, and foam rolling really seems to improve these quickly.
Michael K. Van Antwerp, DC, CPed, CCSP