Let first look at the anatomy of a hip ….
The hip is a stable ball and socket joint that provides stability along with surrounding structures, muscles and ligaments.
The hip joint is one of the largest in the body and supports a large percentage of weight allowing you to move without pain. As the hip joint and pelvis play a major role in moderation of the gait cycle, changes in the hip structure due to disease or injury can place abnormal stress on the joints above and below.
So why do you get hip pain?
With age and use the cartilage can wear down and become damaged as well as muscles and tendons being overused. Hip pain is commonly caused by:
Muscle or tendon strain
Laberal hip tear
Differences in hip anatomy
No two hips are built the same and anatomical variance can greatly affect range of motion. There is no one optimal stance, range of motion or foot positioning when prescribing squat and deadlifting exercise. It is purely what feels comfortable for the individual. You need to take into account a person’s size, training history, age and tissue mobility.
When looking at anatomical variance, there can be massive differences in the shape, alignment, positioning and the angle of attachment for bones and joints. This means they have their own individual defined movement pattern, which helps that person move well. The same movement pattern will not assist another individual with a difference anatomical variance to move well.
One way to test if you have reached your full range of motion, is if you are hitting bone on bone. If your bones run out of room and you are pressing one to another you will not be able to get any more range of motion out of them without causing trauma.
When looking at the hip as an example, differences in the femoral angle are the most common.
The shape and position of your joints will ultimately be the main limiting factor for the ultimate amount of mobility you can use. When it comes to purely mobility when we are talking about the hip; the position of the joints, rather than weakness, fatigue or lack of strength in the area may be the main cause.
Sometimes there can be variation in the position of the femoral neck. This can be either angled forward known as antiversion, or angled backward known as retroversion.
Someone who has a femoral retroversion will likely have a bone to bone contact sooner in a flexion range of motion compared to someone who has more of an anteversion alignment
In addition, there is also variation in the depth of the hip socket. A deep socket with a thick neck is going to limit range of motion much more than a shallow socket with a thin neck ever would.
So how does this affect your movement patterns and efficiency?
If you are squatting in an inappropriate position or range of motion for your hip structure, you will likely develop some signs of impingement, such as anterior hip pain when squatting or doing anything involving hip flexion.
Three tests you can use to test range of motion are:
Supported squat self assessment
Hip bridge test
Lateral groin stretch
(See facebook live for full demonstration)
These tests will tell you:
What position gives you the best squat depth, and what your actual ability to go into hip flexion is from that depth.
How much hip extension you have in a gross sense.
How much lateral mobility you have.
From this you can determine whether you have a lot of mobility, a specific directional limitation.
If you would like a squat assessment or movement screen contact us today! We work hand in hand with the fantastic physios at iMOVE Miranda and would happily assist you with improving your movement efficiency.