29 Tue

The peanut butter and jelly of the hip joint

The peanut butter and jelly of the hip joint

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

Two great tastes that taste great together.  Peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, peanut butter and chocolate, Captain and Tennille…  Two things that work great together.  In the past couple weeks, I’ve spoken to my patients about a similar situation in the hip joint.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and goes through six basic directions of movement:  flexion (moving the leg forward), extension (moving the leg backward), abduction (moving the leg out to the side), adduction (moving the leg back to the middle), internal rotation (moving a bent knee inwards and the foot outwards), and external rotation (moving a bent knee outwards and the foot inwards).

When it comes to physiological movement in everyday life, two of the above movements work great together:  flexion works with external rotation, and extension works with internal rotation.

So when someone comes in and has issues with bringing their knee up to their chest or are limited in hip flexion, I take a look at their external rotation range of motion.  Usually if we work on stretching the external rotation range, they can improve their end range of motion with flexion.  The same goes for hip extension, if someone is limited with extension range, I work on internal rotation and it can help increase their extension motion.

For example, someone who is squatting or deadlifting a weight, or just getting up and down from a low couch;  that movement requires hip flexion.  If they’re having problems, then we work on the external rotation of the hip to improve their range of motion for squatting, deadlifting, or getting up in and out of a couch.

Runners are another example, they need a lot of hip extension to run efficiently.  If they’re tight in their hip adductors or hip flexors, we’ll work on hip internal rotation with stretching to increase their overall hip extension range of motion.

These are only a few examples of the arthrokinematics of the hip and how two movements work together to create functional motion.  We always tailor our physical therapy program to the functional goals of the patient.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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