Prolonged sitting, hip flexor tightness, overuse and misuse can all cause hip problems. Often when the “soft tissue” i.e., muscle, becomes tight the deeper layers of the connective tissue surrounding a joint will become short, stuck and glued down. The hip capsule is unique in that it has a sort of rotatory arrangement of its fibers.
One commonly seen pathology, is the head of the femur (ball) becoming fixated into the posterior portion of the acetabulum (socket). A pain generator to be sure, as the bone grinds on the inside of the joint space. This may occur as a result of a dropped arch, internally rotated leg, and rotation of the femur.
One way to address the issue at the hip, is to position yourself or client/patient as shown in (fig.1). This external rotation of the femur causes the head of the femur to migrate into external rotation, stretching the iliofemoral lig., which attaches the hip to the thigh and visa versa. (The one that gets all glued up during bouts of great hip flexion and approximation of muscular origin-insertion.) If you are a therapist using this technique position hands just inferior to greater trochanter. Gravity will help those who help themselves. To add an enhancer to this position, you may try pelvic tilts…tuck the tail bone under and back out. Some people may feel a bit strange about this enhancer so I recommend pushing the knee into the floor for a count of 6-8 seconds, release and repeat 3-5 times. You may also feel a bit of increase in ROM in adductors, sometimes that feels great. DO NOT use this technique if you have to great a range of motion already. In my opinion loose joints are more dangerous than tight joints. Enjoy!
For more info or to book a session with Geoffrey Bishop, LMT in Flagstaff, AZ…call 928-699-1999. e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org