Today we're going to finish covering some basic information about the hip/pelvis and take a look at one more example of dysfunction! We'll also discuss basic plans of action to treat dysfunctional posture or movement patterns!
Example #2: Rotational Asymmetries & Uneven Hips
Let's imagine we have an athlete that participates in a sport that dictates they spend a lot of time rotating in one direction.They're constantly rotating their hips in one direction in order to throw or swing. After years of this pattern, rotational asymmetries are very common. You may even notice one hip seems to sit higher or lower than the other:
As you can see here the left hip is much higher, creating a false leg length discrepancy. Additionally our upper body shifts to compensate for this, creating imbalances in the core musculature, one shoulder slumps over, the spine even begins to bend laterally! It's also very common to see Anterior Tilt accompanying this condition as well.
Imagine trying to walk or run with this condition. It's obvious that this person would have to resort to compensation patterns just to go about our daily tasks! You'll often catch these people standing with all their weight on one leg. As we learned yesterday, this kind of dysfunction can have an impact as far away as the neck or elbow! In this case here is a list of the tight and lengthened muscles that are contributing to the problem:
- Adductors (One or both sides)
- Abductors (One Side)
- Internal Rotators (One Side)
- Hip Flexors (One or both sides)
- Lower Back / Quadratus Lumborum (One or both sides)
- Obliques (One Side)
- Abductors (Other side)
- Internal Rotators (Other Side)
- Hamstrings (One or both sides)
- Obliques (Other Side)
How To Treat Hip Dysfunction
If you're already spending most of your day in a compromised posture, fixing the issue will require a combination of releasing tight areas, building strength in the weak areas and even a conscious effort to maintain better posture throughout the day. Until we correct the imbalances, we need to back off of any significant loading (resistance training, high-intensity activities). Below is a set of steps you can use to dysfunction in most areas of the body:
Plan A: Fix The Problem With Movement
Think of this as hitting reset on an electronic device. Before we make any changes to our hardware (our muscles and connective tissue), we should attempt to reset our software (nervous system) that is governing movement.
- Decrease training load or daily activity and attempt to correct the pattern simply by moving better! Can't get in a deep squat position? Spend more time sitting in the squat position and use implements such as bands or the wall to assist you. If possible, we always want to use movement as our first plan of attack.
- Once we've learned the correct pattern and can produce it efficiently, apply load in order to build strength in those positions.
Plan B: Treat The Problem Areas, Then Re-Establish Movement
When we simply cannot achieve the desired effect with our current software due to hardware limitations, our next option is to find what needs to be fixed. In this case, we tackle any hardware (muscle & connective tissue), before reinstalling new software (new motor pathways).
- Decrease training load or daily activity, attempt to identify any lengthened (weak) or tight (overactive) areas that are contributing to dysfunction.
- Use SMR, traditional static stretching, dynamic stretching etc. on the tight areas.
- Use targeted exercises for weak, lengthened and inhibited areas. Start with very low loads and gradually increase resistance.
- Begin re-training the full movement pattern gradually by using exercise progressions. The key point here is to ensure our body is learning the correct motor pattern from a neurological standpoint.
- Re-introduce the complete movement pattern. Once we are efficient with our own body weight, we can begin to add load in order to build strength in that pattern.