- Restorative Therapy Co.
Hip Mobility - Why It Matters
By Kirkland Tucker, PT, DPT
Restorative Therapy Co
No matter what your activity level, normal, symmetrical mobility of the hips is important. The hips provide us with both stability, supporting the spine, and mobility, allowing our lower limbs to move around the spine. When this ball-and-socket joint and its joint capsule are overly tight or hypomobile, the body will compensate up and down the kinetic chain to achieve necessary ranges of motion. This often leads to poor movement, impaired posture, and abnormal muscle activation—all leading to increased risk of injury in the spine or lower extremities. A small restriction in the mobility of the hip can often magnify into something larger over time. This is especially true in those who spend a significant amount of time sitting, which leads to shortened hip flexors and weak glute muscles, which is often a recipe for lower back pain.
A hypomobile joint can also alter the hip’s arthrokinematics, or movement between joint surfaces. Capsular tightness in the hip can cause a pinching sensation in the front when bending at the hip as the head of the femur impinges on the acetabular rim of the pelvis. By improving the mobility of the joint capsule, one can increase the joint space and decrease this discomfort, which is often experienced with everyday activities such as sitting, squatting, and getting in/out of a car.
Research has also shown a large correlation between imbalances in hip rotation range of motion (ROM) and sacroiliac joint pain. Specifically, a correlation between patients with decreased unilateral hip internal rotation and SI joint dysfunction has been established. With physical therapy treatment, patients were able to correct their hip mobility deficits and return to work and their recreational activities pain-free.
All this goes to say that the hips cannot be neglected as they play such an important role in our posture, gait, and functional movements. If you are experiencing back pain, groin pain, hip pain or knee pain, physical therapy to improve your hip mobility may be of benefit. Here at RTC we can assess your hip mobility and provide you with an individualized exercise program to help you move and feel better. Give us a call at 757-578-2958 or book an appointment online at https://www.restorativetherapyco.com/book-appointment
Cibulka MT, Sinacore DR, Cromer GS, Delitto A. Unilateral hip rotation range of motion asymmetry in patients with sacroiliac joint regional pain. Spine. 1998; 23: 1009-1015.
Warren PH. Management of a patient with sacroiliac joint dysfunction: a correlation of hip range of motion asymmetry with sitting and standing postural habits. J Man Manip Ther. 2003; 11: 153-159.
Reiman MP, Weisbach PC, Glynn PE. The hips influence on low back pain: a distal link to a proximal problem. J Sport Rehabil. 2009;18(1):24-32.