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HAMSTRINGS AND HIP MOBILITY

Do you have sore hips or suffer from some hamstring tightness??


It is pretty common for these 2 things to happen in conjunction with each other but this is not always the case.


This blog is here to educate the difference, the common ways this can occur and even ways to prevent pain and tightness!


What Is The Difference?


Well let's make this simple... the hamstrings are a group of muscles in the back of your leg that originate in the hips and insert into the back of the knee. So they cross over 2 big joints, the hips and knees. Hamstrings have the main role of flexing at the knee joint and also extending at the hip joint. Two opposing movement patterns in the 2 joints it crosses.


The hips are made up of an array of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons and is your body's power house. The hamstrings are just one group of muscles that are connected to your hips and have the role in this joint of extension. Basically helping with the hinge you see at the hips. If you can get low and touch your toes you have pretty good movement in your hips and also have pretty flexible hamstrings.


Hamstrings


The collection of muscles in the back of your legs. There are 3 big muscles in the hamstrings!

  1. Biceps femoris

  2. Semitendinosus

  3. Semimembranosus

The hamstrings are important for anything related to running, jumping and overall lower body movement. Injuries at the hamstrings are pretty common especially with those in the sporting world! Quick changes in direction or rapid accelerations/decelerations tend to be the main drivers of hamstring tears/sprains.


Practicing mobility is an important factor to improve performance with the hamstrings and also decrease risk to injury when in sport!


Hips


This is a complex joint which connects the thigh bone or femur to the pelvis. As a ball and socket joint (same as the shoulder) it is highly moveable, or so it should be, meaning you can rotate it around in a full circle. Being able to do many movements means it runs the risk of multiple different types of injuries, can be inflammed pretty easy and it doesn't take much to get sore, tight or limited in some movements.


The movements that can happen from the hips include:


  1. flexion (bring thigh up towards chest)

  2. extension (bringing thigh back away from body)

  3. abduction (moving thigh to the side or away from body)

  4. adduction (moving thigh in towards side)

  5. rotation (moving the thigh in a circle around the hip)


As stated it has a major role in movement however the hip is your biggest joint as such has to be able to bear weight and transfer force from the upper body and lower body!


How Do Injuries Occur In The Hip And Hamstrings?


There are many injuries that can occur in the hip and hamstrings due to the various roles that occur in this joint. Let is start with some common reasons or ways this joint and specifically the hamstrings can get injured...


Inactivity and sedentary lives we are living which is placing us in seated positions for extended periods at a time. We live in a world today that places us seated at a desk with a computer in front of us for up to 10 hours on a daily average... This places the hamstrings under stress due to the position you place upon it. Being seated forces the hamstring to be at a maximal stretch in the hip whilst it is fully relaxed if your knees are bent at the other end. This means you will be tight in the hips loose in the back of the knees.


This poses 2 issues you should be aware of...


  1. stress or overuse related injury at the hip - being tight at the hip means you are constantly pulling at the hip overtime this can lead to arthritis, hamstring strains, hip bursitis, hip fracture etc

  2. weakness and high risk of injury at the knee - being loose at the knee means you are not placing the hamstrings at the same force you would normally. So when you get up and start something new like a new sport or activity that involves the hamstrings you a running the risk of injury due to the lack of strength or stress adherence there!


You can also run the risk of injury in the hips and hamstrings when you overload the area. Through many sports that involve the lower limb you run the risk of overloading the hamstrings or placing the hips under high load due to the intensity and repetition of the movements you focus on.


For example, soccer players tend to get many hamstring injuries and you could put this down to the rapid acceleration/deceleration found in this sport which is repetitive and continupus throughout a 90 minute match by most player. There are some players (strikers and defenders) that may have a higher risk due to their need for quick bursts or rapid changes of direction who tend to be the ones that experience this injury more often.


The Solution?


There is a solution to all of this!


You do not have to go through life with tight hamstrings, sore hips or limited movement ability in the hips. You can go through life with full range of motion and movement ability, no tightness, pain or limitation in the hamstrings and have high performance in sport. You can also decrease the risk of injury even if you do fit into one of the groups listed (sedentary seated, sport football).


The solution = mobility training


Mobility means increasing your joints movement ability and range of motion. It also means having strength at end range so that you will have a strong flexible joint. A joint that is both flexible and strong is going to be harder to injure but also have more of a chance to perform at peak ability!!


Closing Thoughts?


My thought pattern is always the same, if you do have limitation it is time for you to enter my world of mobility and start putting the right step forward and toward a stronger mobile future.


Make the change and start your mobility journey.


I recommend start with trying to touch your toes but also try create a full circle with your hips that can achieve all 5 of the movement patterns in the hip.


Brendon





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