Most stand-alone hip problems are straightforward.
The hip joint can also be just one part of a bigger puzzle in a complex lower limb problem, as its functioning has such important consequences both for the low back region and for the knee and ankle. Therefore I check the low back, hips, knees and ankles all together.
The hip joint is usually very mobile, having to withstand both direct loading stresses and large rotational forces with weight-bearing activities. Which makes it especially vulnerable to injury in sports that involve pivoting or twisting movements, such as soccer, football, tennis and golf.
During the examination of the hip I carefully check the range of motion and test the length of the hip muscles.
Two movement pathologies are very common.
- The first type of problem – and the easier to treat – is when the hip joint has restricted motion. This can produce local hip pain or cause dysfunction in the lumbar spine/sacroiliac joint or the knee, as a result of these structures attempting to compensate for the lack of movement at the hip joint.
- The second type of problem is where the hip joint has an increased amount of movement arising from a lack of control of the femoral head (top of the thigh bone) in the hip socket; you will often feel or hear clicking or clunking, or a feeling of weakness in the region. A failure to correct this lack of control can lead to joint damage and subsequent long-term restriction of movement.
If only it were so simple that we could split the problem into one or other type of dysfunction. However in reality it will often be a combination of the two.
I teach corrective exercise techniques designed to help improve hip motion and to resolve muscle imbalances.