Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guidelines for keeping the hip joints flexible and free.

Your hip joints are where your pelvis and your thigh bones come together. It is what is called a ball and socket joint where the thigh bones fit into the pelvis. The heads of the thigh bones are fairly round and they are meant to fit perfectly into a rounded out area of the pelvis. When the thigh bones are in their correct position and all the muscles that support them are well aligned and toned, this joint is meant to have quite a huge range of motion. This means that the thigh ones should be able to move in almost 360 degrees!  The possibility of moving your legs to a much greater range than you are probably doing would be a smart move. The more you keep the thigh moving in all of it’s potential movement possibilities the greater the health and integrity of the joint remains.

There are specific muscles that are key to keeping the hip joints free moving. These are:

The hamstrings - that connect the sit bones ( the lower ends of your pelvic bones) to each side of your knees. There is one hamstring muscle that goes to the outer knee and 2 which go to your inner knee. All 3 of these muscles must be aligned and equal in tone and flexibility to keep the posterior pelvis well aligned to the knees. If the muscle that goes to the outer knee is much shorter and tighter than the 2 which go to the inner knee or vice versa, this can create an imbalance within the hip joint.

The adductor muscles or your inner thigh muscles attach from various points on your pubic bone and the part of the pelvic bone that runs from the pubis back to your sit bone. There are 5  muscles and they attach at various points on your femur from the upper femur to the knee. If these muscles are too tight or atrophied they will pull the femur inward and the legs and feet to a position which is narrower than hip distance. This changes the position of the head of the femur in the hip socket -and can cause a wearing away of the  socket. This is very common during the aging process as the legs will naturally begin to narrow in toward each other contributing to the narrowing of the pelvis.

This muscle group is so misunderstood. It is the balancer of the quadriceps and the hamstrings. When it is working correctly it keeps the hamstrings and quadriceps in their respective locations to work the way they’re meant to. If they are contracted and or atrophied, they actually pull the 2 other muscle groups toward the inner thigh. Again, this places more pressure on the femoral head in the hip socket. This means more wear and tear on the joint!

People need to actively use these muscles for maintaining healthy hip joints. The more the inner thigh muscles have length, tone, and flexibility, the better range of motion there is in the hip joint and the longer the joint will last.

The quadriceps and the sartorious go down the front of the leg and attach the pelvis to the femur and tibia or the femur to the tibia.

When they are long and toned they help to keep the front of the hip joint free of restrictions. These muscles are often controlled by the quality of movement in your hip flexors. If it is hard to stand up from a sitting position and you notice that you cannot fully straighten up it is a good indication that you need to stretch out your hip flexors, quadriceps and adductors. If you cannot straighten up from sitting to standing, you are wearing out the front of the hip socket.

The hip flexors connect your pelvis and your spine to your thighs. When these muscles are short and tight they prevent you from standing up tall. They pull your torso down into your pelvis and put unnecessary pressure into your hip joints. There are 2 muscles that make up this muscle group. One is called your iliacus and it blankets the whole inside edge of your pelvis on each side and it attaches to your upper inner thigh at the lesser trochanter. The other is called your psoas and it begins along the lumbar spine and shares the same attachment on the inner thigh.

These 2 muscles have to be long and strong to allow the body to stand up straight and to have free range of motion of the inner thigh and quadriceps.

The most unknown muscle group that actually goes from your sit bone to your greater trochanter or the top of the thigh bone is called the deep lateral rotators. These muscle allow you to turn your leg in and out. On most people they re worn out and do not function. They should support the movement of the femur in the hip joint and if they are not used, with time they will wear out and lose all function and be a big reason for the hip joint to wind up bone on bone with slow wearing away of the joint.

The lateral aide of your leg has one muscle that begins at the top of your pelvis and then as it goes below the hip joint it becomes what is commonly known as your I-T band. It is meant to be quite strong with less movement potential, however, it is not meant to be so tight that it is carrying the major weight bearing. If the other muscle groups are all working there should be no excess pressure on this side of the leg causing a lack of movement of the femur in the hip joint.

So how do you prevent hip replacements? Using YBR you can literally work through all these muscle groups to keep them in balance. When you work each muscle group it becomes easy to find out where the imbalances are between them and restore balance. When you align, lengthen and tone each of these muscle groups you will experience greater freedom in your hip joints.

It is important to begin bringing these muscles into balance before you actually begin to feel restrictions.  There is no reason to accept getting stiffer and losing movement during the aging process. Adding this simple work into your daily routines is easy and the results are noticeable very quickly.

YOU ALSO NEED TO STAND TALL AND KEEP YOUR BODY UPRIGHT so that your ribcage and torso are NOT collapsing down into your hip joints! Bad posture can be the number one reason for hip problems!