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Are You Too Hip For This?

Princeton Online article

Are You Too Hip For This?

Sometimes, we take the simple things for granted.

Take the hip joint, for example. Since the hip is a major weight-bearing joint, any injuries or discomfort can impact the ability to sit, stand and walk. We know about posture and the lower back, but the hip joint doesn't get a lot of attention.

In fact, gradual wear and tear of the hip joint and the surrounding muscles can lead to pain and discomfort over time. In some cases, this may lead to hip replacement surgery. A complex network of muscles and ligaments surround the hip joint to keep it stable, and mobile at the same time. The hip can function as a weight bearing joint, and dislocations are minimized.

When the hip is injured or operated upon, the ligaments and the muscles around the hip need time to heal and scar tissue forms. This can increase the possibility of a dislocation, cause pain and restrict motion. Physical therapy will help regain hip mobility and function while preventing postures that can harm the healing hip.

Exercise and Posture Tips

 

Postural awareness

In general, a physical therapist will advise patients to advise unstable positions including:

  • Allowing the leg to cross the midline of the body.
  • Outward rotation of the leg.
  • Flexing the hip at an angle of 80 degrees or more.

The most important aspect of recovery is gradual weight bearing and movement under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Gradual walking builds flexibility and strength.

Ongoing assessments and postural feedback from your therapist will ensure that the neck, back, hip and knee align correctly. The therapist will also make sure that you can sit, stand and walk in a manner that is safe for the healing hip joint.

Healing exercises

Simple home exercises will help the hip heal as strength and mobility improve. Always consult with your doctor and physical therapist before doing any exercises. You can repeat all of these exercises 10 - 15 times. Stop if you experience any pain. Don't forget to do an equal number on the other side!

  • Knee extension

While lying on your back on a comfortable surface such as a bed, place a pillow under both knees. Slowly straighten one leg at a time, hold your leg extended for a count of five, then gently lower.

  • Hip abduction

Lie on your side with the legs stacked on top of each other, with a pillow between your knees. Keep your toes pointing forward, or slightly outwards. Now, raise your top leg upward and gently lower it.

  • Gluteal muscle hip extension

Lie flat on your back with your legs together. Gently squeeze your gluteal muscles and hold for a count of 5, then release. As you get stronger, extend the hold up to a count of 10.

  • Knee extension (static)

Lie on your back with your legs together. Tighten the quadriceps (the front of your thigh) and press the back of your knee down. Hold for a count of 5, and then release.

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Modern society comes with desk jobs, prolonged sitting, and repetitive motions that weaken the hip joints. As a result, the lower back and knees are forced to compensate. Muscle imbalances and poor posture compound the problem. Over time, this reinforces poor movement patterns, eventually resulting in pain and discomfort.

It's not too late, however, to say 'Hip, Hip, Hooray!' Regular walking is the easiest way to keep the hip joint healthy. Try and get in as many steps as you can every day and involve a friend or significant other.

Before you start any exercises, schedule an appointment with us. As your physical therapists, we will evaluate and identify ways to protect and strengthen your hip joints. The truth is - most individuals have unstable, weak hip joints with limited movements. We can help address this right away. Don't compound the problem by ignoring it.

Schedule an appointment with us right away, and we'll tell you what's going on within minutes of your initial evaluation. Physical therapy can indeed change your life. We look forward to working with you.

Specialized Physical Therapy, LLC 1919 Greentree Road Suite B Cherry Hill NewJersey 08003 Phone: 856-424-0993

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