What happens when your hip flexors are tight?
Tight Hip Flexors Stretches
Did you know that tight hip flexors are not only limiting but can also change your overall walking posture? Well, tight hip flexors can trigger a cascade of negative mobility changes resulting from poor hip motion.
But what are tight hip flexors? This is a feeling of tightness occurring across the hip as a result of tension in the hip flexors.
On the other hand, hip flexors refer to group muscles found at the uppermost part of your thighs. These muscles connect to the upper part of your leg and the hip. These muscles enable you to raise your leg or bend your waist.
Hip flexors are categorized into four main muscles that include:
• Rectus femoris
• Tensor fasciae latae
Before looking at the detrimental effects of having tight hip flexors, you might want to know the root cause of this problem.
Causes of hip flexors
You will be surprised to know that many people, ranging from those who spend many hours sitting to professional athletes and gym-goers have tight hip flexors.
It is believed that long hours of sitting allow the muscles to remain in a contracted position for a long period of time and they eventually become shortened.
Overuse is also believed to be the cause of tight hip flexors. For instance, intense exercises such as weight lifting subject hip flexors muscles to strain, and as a result remain tight thereafter.
People who are experiencing this problem are at a risk of injury that may eventually lead to a sore hip flexor. This condition is characterized by:
• Sudden pain that stretches across the hip flexors
• Pain that seems to increase as you lift your thigh towards the chest
• Whenever you stretch your hip muscles, you experience pain
• Muscle spasms at the thigh or your hip
• Bruising or swelling at your hip or thigh area
What happens when your hip flexors are tight?
Hip flexors are responsible for a number of body functions. It, therefore, means that when these muscles are subjected to change they are more likely to affect a number of body functions. In fact, this group of muscles affects functions ranging from body posture, immune system, to digestive problems.
Tight hip flexors can cause the following effects
1. Back Pain and knee pain
Muscle imbalance arising from shortened hip flexors can cause lower back pain as well as pain affecting your knees. When these muscles begin to tighten and shorten, the range of motion at which these muscles usually operate becomes reduced. This leads to increased strain at the hip joint as well as compromising other joints such as lumbar spine as they try to compensate the reduced motion. The muscle imbalance results in lower back pain as well as knee pain.
2. Groin pain
If you often experience pain in the groin area, particularly in the region where the thigh directly connects with your pelvis then tight hip flexors could be the primary cause of this pain. The tight and shortened muscles become painful every time there is motion in the muscles affecting the groin area. It even gets worse because the prolonged non-treated condition often leads to spasm or fracture in the groin area.
3. Change in walking posture
Reduced or shortened hip flexor muscles results in the overall change in walking posture. Limited range of extension associated with tight hip flexors is usually accompanied by an attempt to compensate motion by moving your pelvis into an anterior tilt. Besides, tight hip flexors are accompanied by hyperextension of the lumbar spine. These compensations usually become pronounce in running, lunges, and walking.
The good news about tight hip flexors is that you can fix it by doing a number of exercises that include:
1. Seated butterfly stretch
This involves sitting on the floor with your back maintained at a straight position while having the knees bend outwards. Gently pull the heels inwards and drop the knee further towards the floor.
2. Pigeon pose
Start from an elevated plank position and bring the left leg forward so that you have your knee on the ground adjacent to the left hand. Slight the right leg back then swap with the left leg. Repeat this process.
3. Bridge pose
Lie on your back and bent your knees while keeping your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath and raise the hips while squeezing your glutes. Gently lower the hips after awhile and repeat the process.
Stand straight and take a step forward with the left foot. Bend the knee and transfer weight onto the left leg and lower the hip to the floor. Repeat the same process using the right leg.
5. Straight leg raises
Extend one of your legs towards the ceiling while lying on your back with your hands kept straight on either side of your body.
Other exercises that you can perform to fix the tight hip flexors include wall psaos hold, skaters, and hip flexion.
Tight hip flexors do not cause sore hip flexor but also cause a number of mobility issues. The good thing is that this condition can easily be fixed using a number of exercises.