How much time do you spend sitting each day?
We weren’t designed to sit in a chair, ever. When the hip stays flexed for this long, the tissues out front get short and tight. Then when you stand up, walk or run, the tightness in the front of your hip pulls the pelvis down, unleashing an avalanche of harm to your pelvis, lower back and, most of all, to your knees. The kneecap is pulled upward, leading to a tug of war between the inner and outer quadricep muscles. Tissue under the kneecap rubs and scrapes against the femur, as if trying to spark a fire. Unfortunately, this is exactly the end result; the kneecap feels like its floating on red hot coals.
FIX THE HIPS, SAVE THE KNEES
Opening up the anterior hip into extension will unlock your pelvis from forward tilt, your hips from weak internal rotation, and your kneecap from upward and lateral glide; all of which promote the devastating inward knee movement and collapsed arch problem in the ankles of far too many people.
Last week we cleaned up the soft tissues in the back of your hips with this post. Now we are going to open up the front of the hip by activating the muscles at the back of your hip, creating extension. Removing restrictions to hip extension is the key to preventing many knee and lower back pains; the front of the hip is a hot spot for problems.
This stretch for the hip capsule is a vital skill to add to your toolbox of self-maintenance work. This one should be utilized often, if not daily.
Try to work through the sting; the discomfort is a sign of progress.
Anterior hip capsule stretch
(from Dr. Kelly Starrett’s Couch Stretch)
After each step, pause and squeeze your glutes to level the pelvis. Further squeeze the left glute and drive the front of the left hip down towards the ground.
1: Kneel with your feet against the wall; then bend and tuck the left knee against the wall. Slide your foot up so that your shin is flush with the wall. Slide the right knee forward.
2. Tighten the belly and lift the right knee to plant the right foot, pointing forward, under the knee. Hold this position, or move to the upright position.
3. Squeeze the glutes, tighten the belly, and push into the ground with the right foot. Maintain an upright position while gliding your pelvis back towards the wall. Hold this position while maintaining tension in the glutes and belly.
Spend at least 2 minutes total on each side. Some of you may not get past Step 1 the first time; that’s fine. Change is a process, so keep working on it. Your knees can thank me later.
-Dr. Justin Guy, Oakville Chiropractor