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Hips Feeling "Pinchy?" Try These Three Things!

atlanta brookhaven decatur dr. mike hip pain management physical therapy Mar 21, 2024

Another common phenomenon that many of us experience at some point in life is pinchiness in the front of the hip. If you have seen a medical doctor about this, you have likely been given a pathoanatomical diagnosis that may sound a little scary to you. While some individuals may have something going on that warrants a bit more medical attention, the vast majority of people have low-hanging fruit that can be addressed and have a large impact. 


Pinchiness is often the most prevalent with activities such as squatting, lunging, and at the bottom of a deadlift. The common denominator is that the hip is in a flexed position, meaning that the knee is moving toward the chest. It’s best to see a physical therapist for a complete evaluation to better determine the contributors to your symptoms - don’t use this as Dr. Google!


Three ways to reduce the pinch! 


Hip flexion mobility 

Without proper passive mobility into hip flexion, the “ball and socket” will essentially run out of space to continue moving properly and may lead to tissue irritation. A quick self-assessment is while lying on your back, passively pull your knee to your chest as far as you can. If you’re only getting a little past 90 degrees, you have some work to do. An effective way to improve this is using heavy resistance bands to perform self-mobilization to the hip joint itself. While lying on your back, loop a heavy resistance band around the thigh as close to the hip as you can. With the band in place, passively pull your knee towards your chest  Check out this video for an example! 


Hip flexion strength 

A deficit in hip flexor strength can be another culprit for a pinchy hip. Hip flexion is a movement that is often neglected in strength training programs. A lack of strength in a given position can limit one's ability to actively move their body into a desired position. For example, during a forward lunge, the front leg requires both passive mobility into hip flexion and strength of the hip flexors to move the hip there and control movement. Hip flexors are best strengthened in an isolated manner. Check out this video for an example!  


Hip internal rotation mobility 

When moving into positions such as a squat, lunge, or deadlift, a combination of hip flexion and internal rotation need to occur together. As previously mentioned, passive mobility needs to be present to improve the ability to actively move into these positions. Without appropriate hip internal rotation, the ball and socket will again run out of space to produce movement at the joint and potentially lead to irritation of local soft tissues. A great way to improve internal rotation brings us back to self-mobilization using a heavy resistance band. With the band positioned to pull laterally, rotate the same side lower leg away from the midline of your body to attain an internally rotated position, and perform rock backs. This specifically addresses internal rotation in combination with hip flexion, as described earlier. Check out this video for an example!


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Thanks for reading,

Dr. Mike

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