Building Strong Hips

Building Strong Hips

The Key to Solving Back and Leg Issues

Hello everyone! I’m Sarah, your friendly physiotherapist from South Eastern Sports Podiatry. Today, I want to delve into a topic that’s crucial for athletes and non-athletes alike: hip strength. You might wonder, why focus on the hips? The answer is simple – strong hips are the cornerstone of a healthy, pain-free body, particularly when it comes to addressing back and leg issues.


The Importance of Hip Strength

Our hips are the largest ball-and-socket joints in the body, designed to support the weight of the body in both static and dynamic states. They play a pivotal role in stabilising the pelvis, which is essential for maintaining proper posture and balance. Strong hips also ensure that the force generated during activities like walking, running, or lifting is effectively transferred through the legs and spine, reducing undue stress on these areas.


How Weak Hips Contribute to Back and Leg Problems

When hip muscles are weak, other parts of the body are forced to compensate, leading to a cascade of problems:

Lower Back Pain: Weak hips can lead to an anterior pelvic tilt in standing, or lateral pelvic tilt when standing on one leg, this can cause extra pressure through the joints in the lower back . Weak hips can also increase the load in the muscles of the lower back when doing activities such as bending and lifting.

Knee Pain: Without adequate hip strength, the knees often bear the brunt of physical activities. This can cause misalignment and increase the risk of conditions like patellofemoral pain syndrome or iliotibial band syndrome.

Ankle and Foot Issues: The chain reaction of weak hips can extend down to the feet, causing overpronation or supination, which in turn can lead to plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and other foot problems.


Strengthening Your Hips: Key Exercises

To combat these issues, integrating hip-strengthening exercises into your routine is essential. Here are some effective exercises to get you started:

Glute Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, the largest hip muscle, essential for hip extension and stability.

Clamshells: Lie on your side with your legs stacked and knees bent. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis -particularly looking to avoid rotating backward. This exercise focuses on the gluteus medius (hip abductors), which is crucial for pelvic stability and preventing knee valgus.

Lateral Band Walks: Place a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees. Slightly bend your knees and take small steps to the side, keeping tension on the band. This exercise targets the hip abductors, which are important for lateral stability and balance.


Incorporating Hip Strength into Daily Life

Beyond specific exercises, integrating hip-strengthening activities into your daily routine can also make a significant difference. Simple changes like taking the stairs, practising good posture, and being mindful of your body mechanics during daily tasks can all contribute to stronger hips.

Investing time in strengthening your hips can pay off immensely by alleviating and preventing back and leg issues. At South Eastern Sports Podiatry, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through tailored physiotherapy programs. If you’re struggling with pain or simply want to enhance your athletic performance, don’t hesitate to reach out for a personalised consultation.

Stay active, stay healthy, and remember – strong hips make a strong foundation!