Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Healthy Hips= A Great Life and Excellent Athletic Performance

OK, so those who know me personally may know that I have been having problems with my groin/hip flexor for a couple of weeks now. This coupled with a slew of other friends made me want to write what I have learned thus far in the rehab/prehab of groin injuries. A phone call from a good friend of mine last night tipped the pot and made me realize I need to get something out there. So here's how it goes:

The hip is obviously a very important region in your body because it is in the middle of everything and can generate force throughout your body. Think about the importance of a good centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner. There are also many many muscles involved around the pelvis and that alone makes a lot of things very interesting. The hips can also be the source of a lot of dysfunction and the source of a lot of problems if not taken care of. Lastly, any groin pulls that are ignored can certainly and sneakily become hernias which will require surgery to the affected area.

"The Groin" is just a blanket term used to describe a set of adductor muscles shown here:

Now a "groin" pull or strain can be any of these muscles, so to say you have a "groin" pull is often times not very helpful because it is unfortunately not specific enough. If you can pinpoint the exact muscle I think you have a better chance for treatment. I would rest your injury, foam roll, and stretch (in that order). These injuries all come down to tissue quality and if you're an athlete that has more or less ignored stretching and tissue work (like me) you better believe you do not have good tissue quality. In order to prevent and treat these types of injuries you need to use a foam roller religiously in this fashion:

If you notice in the picture, there are muscles that are shorter in nature (attach higher on the thigh) and ones that are longer (attach closer to your knee). Here are two stretches(one with a short arc length and one with a long arc length) to help your tissue quality and can be performed after you roll the affected area.

1.) Stand next to a table and place your knee on the table keeping your other leg straight. Stand up tall and lean towards the table.

2.) Stand with your foot flat on the table and leg straight. Squat down slightly until you feel your groin stretch.

Ok, if you are feeling your "groin" injury high up into your pelvis, you may not in fact have a "groin" injury, but perhaps have a hip flexor injury. Because these two muscle groups attach in very similar places around the hip one will undoubtedly affect the other and vise versa. Therefore, it is important for us to also keep healthy hip flexors. So, when we roll our hip flexors we can use a foam roller, or even better a softball or lacrosse ball. The smaller the better almost because the area we are rolling at the hip is very bony and there isn't much room to get into those tight areas.

After rolling we will perform the stretches. Here are a couple that I find to be helpful:


A Little More Dynamic:

Of course the best way to improve is to go and get a massage or soft tissue work from a qualified massage therapist. I had this done and it worked wonders, I am now getting one once a week as well as performing self-massage. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.

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