When you break down many injuries in the body there are a few common culprits that are responsible for multiple problems. The hips are one of these culprits that are often underestimated.
Our hips are involved in most major movements of the body. They are essential for walking, sitting, bending and when looking at their design they are made to move. In fact research estimates that healthy hips require us to stand on and use our hips around 8 hours each day! The biggest problems occur when the hips start to lose this ability to move freely.
The body is quite smart in that it is able to adapt to change. When our hips stop moving through their full range, our body finds other ways to “gain” this missing movement from the areas around the hips. The two areas it draws on are the lower back and the knee.
Lets look at the knee first. The joint design of a knee is quite simple. It is a big hinge made to bend forward and back but not good at twisting too much. The lower back is very similar in this way. It is made to easily bend forward and back to help us pick things up from the ground, but is not made to rotate frequently. When we lose rotation or twisting from our hips, our body will twist more at either the knee or the lower back to compensate.
Similarly when our hips lack stability and the muscles around the hips get lazy, the muscles either side of the hips (around the lower back and the knee) have to tighten up to create stability.
Our body works via movement goals – it attempts to get us from point A to point B and it is not concerned if this is less than ideal. Problems arise when this less than ideal movement is repeated creating microtears and damage to structures that are not designed to take the additional load.
So how do we avoid this? We simply need to keep our joints moving – especially the hips!