The previous two hip articles (Hip muscles to target in arthiritis and Oesteoarthiritis: Hip and Habits), talked about the importance of strengthening the deep hip abductors (in hip conditions) over superficial muscles.
Useful hip strengthening and stretches exercises are demonstrated below; although it is strongly recommended you seek the advice of a medical practitioner/ physiotherapist before commencing these exercises.
Strengthening of the Gluteus Medius and Quadratus Lumborum (hip abductors)
- Lie on your side with the hip and knees bent and in line with shoulders, the side to be strengthened uppermost (see below).
- Gluteus medius: Attempt to lift the top knee away from the bottom knee, but do not actually lift the knee so you should only feel the muscle exertion but do not see the legs move (so knees remain touching throughout the exercise). Heels, hip and shoulders do not move.
- You should feel the muscle in the bottom- lateral hip working
- Hold this exertion for 3-5 secs and repeat 10 times
- Quadratus Lumborum: Same position as previous exercise
- Squeeze the top heel into the heel below and feel your middle buttock muscle contract.
- The contraction is small, deep and subtle.Hold for 5-8 secs and repeat
Anterior Hip flexor release
- Lie on the stomach with hip and knee of the side to be stretched bent in a fig 4 (see below).
- Keep foot position but try and elongate the bent knee to bring the hip closer to the floor.
- You should feel stretch at the front of the hip.
- Hold the pressure for 30 secs and repeat in sets of 3, three times a day
(The trigger ball has been placed under the hip purely to demonstrate the gap between the hip and floor- and is not actually required for this stretch)
Hip Flexor stretch
- Kneel on one knee of the side being stretched with the leg in the lunge position
- Lean your body foreward into the stretch (keep it upright) till you feel the stretch in the hip flexor
- Raise the arm high on the side being stretch to intensify the stretch and sideflex away (eg to the right) to feel greater stretch and achieve a lateral trunk stretch
In addition to these exercises hip extensors and core stability exercises are strongly advised. If these exercises are causing you back pain, please stop doing them and consult the advice of a physiotherapist.