Are your hip flexors too tight? Tight hip flexors can impact on your running technique and posture as well as lead to injury or pain in other parts of your body. Back pain, knee pain, Iliotibial pain, groin pain or hip pain can all be caused by tight hip flexors.
What are your hip flexors?
The Psoas muscle group is one of your major hip flexors, and is divided into two parts – the Psoas Major and the Psoas Minor. Psoas Major attaches to the 5 lowest vertebrae in your lower back. It then runs down and attaches itself to your thigh bone just below your hip joint. Along its
route your psoas blends together with another muscle called Iliacus and forms the muscle often called Iliopsoas. Iliopsoas has the job of moving your hip into flexion – bending your hip up. When you sit down, you can activate your iliopsoas by lifting the back of your knee off your chair.
Although you need a lot of hip flexion when you walk and run, your iliopsoas only has a small part to play during these movements as a lot of your hip movement is created by momentum. Your iliopsoas’s main job is in providing stability during walking and running. As Psoas attaches to your lower back it acts to stabilise these spinal segments.
A tight Iliopsoas or tight hip flexors can create a lot of problems because of its attachment to your spine – Tight hip flexors can put a lot of tension on your low back. Your hip flexors can get tight due to prolonged sitting – especially in office workers, excessive running or training or due to poor posture in your low back. Tight hip flexors can cause lower back, hip or groin pain during your running or walking activities.
Hip Flexor stretches will improve your muscle length and minimise
Here are two main hip flexor stretches that we use on our patients.
Hip Flexor Lunge Stretch
Start in a lunge position, with the hip you are stretching at the back. Keep your torso upright and chest forwards. Tilt your pelvis forwards by tucking your buttocks underneath you and moving your pelvic bone towards you – this is often the missing part of the stretch. Then move your hips and torso as far forward as you can and make sure your back knee doesn’t slide forwards.
Hip Flexor Thomas Stretch
Lie on the edge of a bed or table and pull your knee towards you. Let the other leg hang from the edge of the bed making sure it is as relaxed as possible. You should feel a pull at the front of your hip or thigh. The stretch is felt on the hanging leg.
If you are feeling pain as a result of hip flexor tightness that isn’t resolved with simple stretches then come in for an assessment and treatment at City Physiotherapy Adelaide. Physiotherapy treatment for tight hip flexors may consist of hands on physiotherapy and soft tissue release, spinal mobilisation, dry needling, assisted stretching, postural re-education exercises, ergonomic advice and more.
Phone: 08 8212 4886