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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hip Pain? What exactly is Causing It & How Runner’s Can Prevent The Most Prevalent Injury.

Hope everyone is enjoying the cold weather up here in the northeast! It surely makes you think twice about going to make that second trip into the grocery store!

Yesterday I was out walking Bailey in Caledonia and had a man pass me walking his dog who looked like had one leg about a foot longer than the other,(meaning, of course, his hips were so unbalanced and weak that they could barely support his lubar spine!) Yikes!

Immediately, I thought about the runners I have who are currently dealing with issue, which is one of the most common injuries among those who enjoy endurance activities.

Why? REPETITION. Constant wear and tear on the deep hip flexor muscle(the muscle that causes flexion at the hip joint) tends to break down muscle tissue and can potentially cause some major discomfort when trying to sprint or run.

First lets get into the boring anatomy of the Hip! The Deep Hip Flexor is actually made up of two muscles: 1) The Psoas Major and 2) the Illiacus but is commonly referred to as the Iliopsoas because these muscles share a common tendon.

Psoas Major:

Origin: Anterior surfaces and lower borders of transverse processes of L1-L5

Insertion: Lesser trochanter of femur inserts as iliopsoas tendon

Action: flexion at the hip joint, external rotation, bends lumbar vertebral column


Origin: Iliac fossa and crest; ala of sacrum

Insertion: Lesser trochanter of femur inserts as iliopsoas tendon

Action: Flexion and external rotation at hip joint; ipsilateral (same side) bending of trunk, raises trunk from supine position

Now, runners tend to easily develop weakness in this muscle simply because it is not worked very much at all during slow paced running. Sprinting, on the other hand, is a different story.  The other hip flexors (rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps), sartorius and tensor fasciae latae, which are superficial) tend to take over - because the hip angle does not reach greater than 90 degrees, which is where the iliopsoas activates more in relation to the more superficial hip flexors.  Since slow running does not result in hip angles below 90 degrees, the result hip muscles tend to weaken over time, while other neighboring muscles are strengthening.
This then leads to imbalances and can even cause serious pain and discomfort for some runners.


Check if you're weak:
Stand super tall and bring one knee to your chest.  Bring it super high, well above 90 degrees.  Keep it there for 30 seconds.  Did your low back round?  Did you round forward to "meet" your thigh?
Were you not able to hold your thigh above 90 degrees?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have weak deep hip flexors.
If you struggle with hip weakness, try this exercise to activate the area and begin correcting and strengthening the hip.

Also, as I see with many of my clients, this pain can be caused directly by the amount of sitting you do all day! This causes you iliopsoas to get very tight and can even cause anterior pelvic tilts, which are shown below.

This can cause serious pain while running and unconsciously change your stride length and negatively affect running performance. This anterior pelvic tilt and hyper lumbar lordosis as resulting from tight hip flexors, weak abdominals, weak gluteals and weak and/or tight lumbar extensors.

To fix this Glute and Core training must be applied to your everyday routine! If you do not correct this, it could even develop one of these nasty cases:
  • disc degeneration,
  • spondylosis (degeneration of lumbar spine),
  • spondylolysis (vertebral defect),
  • spondylolisthesis (vertebral anterior or posterior displacement).
If your iliopsoas is tight, add in this hip flexor stretch with core activation into your routine.


To sum up, THREE things you must do to help correct this:
·         Massage(Active Release)
·         Joint Mobility
·         Muscle Activation to Waken Up Sleeping Muscles.

Stay tuned for my favorite Hip & Core exercises For Runners To help fix those issues!!

DON'T FORGET: Contact me for information and get started by joining the  many others who found what being fit is all about!

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