Hips don’t lie: considerations for running-dominated sportsOctober 20, 2017 | by Duriell Bernard
The powerful musculature of the hip joint and pelvic girdle play a dominant, and often critical role in running-related sports. For athletes in soccer, track and field, and rugby, to name a few, hip stability and mobility are key components to create the speed and power production for sprinting, jumping, bounding and cutting activities.
For example, in a sport such as soccer, your hip joint must be mobile to account for different stride lengths when dribbling, trapping or kicking the ball.
In this article, I will cover how to keep your hips mobile, why hip stability is important and how chiropractic care can help improve hip function and overall performance.
MOVE THOSE HIPS
Hip stability and mobility are key factors in minimizing lower extremity injuries like Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, trochanteric bursitis, hip and low back pain. These are even more common when tight hip flexor muscles are accompanied by tight hamstrings and quadriceps.
The warmer and more mobile your hip muscle tissue and joints are prior to activity, the more congruent and efficient your movements will be.
For those who have poor hip mobility, here are three easy tips to get your hips moving:
- Take the time to warm your hips up:
Add 7-15 minutes of dynamic and functional hip movements you would likely perform in your sport. Some examples include hip circles, high knee turnouts and leg swings, vertically and horizontally.
- Perform dynamic stretching of the muscles that cross the hip joint:
The hamstrings, adductors, quadriceps and gluteal muscles work together with your hips to generate some of the powerful movements you perform in sport. Add some dynamic stretches to your warm up that target these muscles, as well as your low back and hip flexors, to help facilitate hip mobility. Some examples include walking lunges, high knees, butt kicks and toe touches.
- Perform warm-up movements in a multi-directional manner:
Your hip joint will be stressed in many different directions during sport movements, so it’s important to promote global hip mobility in all anatomical planes. Instead of just moving front to back, or side to side, make sure you add in some rotational hip movements, like hip circles or high knee turn outs, to warm up all areas of the joint.
BUILDING HIP STABILITY
Hip stability is exceptionally important for running dominated spots, particularly those involving prolonged distances, jumping and bounding movements. Hip and pelvis instability is commonly associated with ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries with females in jumping sports, and hip and low back pain seen with distance runners.
Integral muscles such as gluteus minimus and medius (that help control internal hip rotation) along with various other muscles of the hip and pelvic girdle are key contributors. In many conditions where poor hip stability has been identified, theses muscles can become tight and over active, as well as becoming inhibited or possessing a delayed activation.
It is important to ensure these muscles have the ability to remain active, engaged and fluent during activity to assist with proper body mechanics and positioning.
Add some closed kinetic-chain exercises (that have an extremity in contact with an immovable and fixed object, usually the ground) to your training days that will activate these muscles. Exercises such as a single leg deadlift or lateral lunge will assist in activating the stabilizing muscles of the hips, improving stability over time.
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CARE CAN HELP
Chiropractors play a large role in the diagnosis, therapeutic process and management of hip and lower extremity injuries related to running-dominated sports. Utilization of various soft tissue techniques, functional dynamic stretches and joint mobilizations can safely and effectively help to decrease scar tissue, increase joint mobility, tissue compliance and extensibility, and enhance movement motor patterns.
A Chiropractor will perform an orthopaedic and functional assessment of your hips and global movement patterns to accurately determine where muscular or joint dysfunctions may be occurring. This will not only allow the underlying cause of injury to be effectively treated, but will also enhance patient care and goal oriented outcomes.
At Fortius Sport & Health chiropractors take an integrative approach to performance, and work extensively with our team of strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists and sport medicine physicians to further maximize recovery and outcomes.