If you have pain in your hips the problem may be in your hip flexor muscles. Your hip flexors are the muscles responsible for lifting your knee up to your body while you’re walking or running.
These hip flexor muscles include the iliacus, psoas major, and rectus femoris. All of these muscles work collectively to help your hips flex so your legs move upward and behind you while you perform certain movements.
When you have pain in your hip flexors it’s usually because these muscles are too tight. Tight hip flexors usually occur when these muscles become shortened.
The shortening of your hip flexor muscles is often due to sitting for long periods of time. However, doing a lot of running can also lead to shortened muscles in the hip flexor.
The most common symptom of tight hip flexors is definitely pain. People suffering from tight hip flexors will experience a sharp pain in their lower back, groin, pelvic, as well as hips. Other than pain in specific locations on your body, you can also experience symptoms such as:
- Muscle spasms.
- Runner’s knee.
- A clicking noise when you try to move your hips around.
According to Hip Flexors Info, these tight hip flexors symptoms aren’t always obvious in some people. So the best way to really know for sure your hip flexors are too tight is to perform the Thomas Test.
This test helps you diagnose yourself by measuring your range of motion and flexibility in your hips. To perform this self-test you’ll need to lay down flat on a bench and then raise one of your knees up in the air while the other leg remains flat against the bench.
If the leg you have resting against the bench bends without you trying as you lift the opposite knee it means your hip flexors are too tight.
Treatment for Tight Hip Flexors
The best way to get relief from hip flexor tightness is to perform certain stretches and exercises. These stretches and exercises help by lengthening the hip flexor muscles so you have better hip flexion.
One of the best hip flexor stretches you can do on a daily basis to loosen up your hips is a simple one. All you have to do is sit in a chair and stretch your leg out until it’s parallel to the ground.
While you stretch one of your legs keep the opposite on planted firmly on the ground. Now elevate the leg you have stretched out as high as you can into the air.
As long as you can get the extended leg up to your waist you’ll be fine. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds before dropping the leg back to the starting position.
Now repeat this simple exercise for tight hip flexors at least 10 times before switching to the other leg.
According to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, stretching exercises like the one above help by improving the range of motion in your hip flexors.
All you have to do is stay consistent with performing simple exercises and stretches that lengthen your hip flexor muscles. Also, try to take breaks during the day from sitting down by getting up and just moving around.