Our hips are involved in many different movements throughout the day including walking, getting in your car, getting food out of the oven, pretty much anything you can think of. It is so very important we take care of our hips. If they start hurting, they can make life really hard. There are several components of hip health which include; hip strength, food, and healing modalities.
The hip joint is the meeting place which connects the upper and lower body. Many of the muscles of the hip connect to the legs or spine. Our hips are involved in most actions performed throughout the day so it is important they are strong enough to support the stresses put on them.
The gluteus muscle group includes the maximus, medius, and minimus. These muscles bring your leg back, out to the side, help turn your toes out, and stabilize your hips.
The Iliopsoas muscle is made up of the iliacus and the psoas major muscles. This muscle group is in charge of flexion of the thigh at the hip, flexion of the trunk at the hip, external rotation of the thigh at the hip.
In our daily life, we perform lots of forward movements, but not much side to side or backwards movement. Here are some great exercises to strengthen your hips and keep them healthy; Side stepping with a slight bend in your knees, stair steps, backwards walking keeping a slight bend in your knees.
Food for Hip Health
Foods that will be beneficial for hip health are foods that are in the Omega-3 Fatty acid category. Studies have consistently shown a connection between an increase in Omega-3 Fatty acids and a decrease in inflammation. Inflammation can be one of the causes of hip pain.
It is recommended that your vitamin and mineral intake come from food first and then supplements if you are not getting enough. Foods that contain Omega-3 Fatty acids include: Fatty cold water fish, nuts and seeds, plant oils and plants (brussel sprouts and avocado), and fortified foods.
A good example of a meal high in Omega-3 fatty acids would be 6oz of Salmon cooked in walnut oil with quinoa, and a side of brussel sprouts or avocado.
Here at Kauai we have several healing modalities that help provide our patients pain relief. Our modalities include the 830 cold laser, electrical stimulation, and dry needling.
The 830 cold laser is a revolutionary low level laser therapy that uses infrared laser light at an 830nm wavelength. Cold laser helps with decreasing inflammation, increasing lymphatic response, and increasing cell metabolism.
Electrical stimulation units work to decrease pain, help decrease joint swelling, and improve blood flow and circulation. Our clinic has two TENS units and two larger units.
Dry needling is performed by our dry needling certified Physical Therapist. “Dry needling is not traditional chinese acupuncture, as it does not treat traditional Chinese energy lines. Dry needling is a modern, science based intervention and requires a medical diagnosis to treat pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal injuries”, explained Garrett Fischer, DPT, cert. DN. Dry needling requires a full orthopedic evaluation to determine how points are inserted. Dry needling therapy can provide relief in hard-to-release muscles.
Stretching is also vitally important to help keep your hips mobile and allow you to do functional activities like tying your shoe, beding down to play with grandkids, etc. This article has information that will share more with you about why stretching is so important and how to do it.
Mindy Murray, Occupational Therapist/Owner
Molly Radonich, LAT, ATC