Friday, December 2, 2011

Hip Flexor Stretches

I just completed my second week of physical therapy for hip flexor tendonitis. My hip still hurts, but I can tell I am improving, thank goodness.

The first thing my physical therapist noted when meeting me is I don't stretch enough. Here's my confession, I rarely stretch after runs and when I do I don't know the proper way to stretch. The second thing he pointed out to me is I need to strength train. I was completely embarrassed to admit to him that I rarely do any strength training. I have a huge imbalance of strength in my hips and am excited to have someone instructing me on things I can do to fix this imbalance.

I know I am not the only runner with tight hip flexors, so I decided to share pictures of the stretches he has me doing in order to loosen up my hips. I already feel my hips loosening up after doing these stretches multiple times a day, every day.

The first stretch is pulling your knee to your butt while lying on the floor. I have always done this standing up, but he said you can get a better stretch while lying down and it stabilizes your hips.
I do this stretch for 30 seconds on each side and do both legs twice.

The next stretch is a hip opener. Bend your knee over your ankle and lay your other leg flat behind you. You will feel the stretch in the front of your hip of the leg that is behind you.
I do this stretch for 15 seconds on each side and do both legs twice.

This next stretch is a piriformis stretch. I occasionally get sciatica because of my piriformis (butt) muscle pinches my sciatic nerve and this helps to loosen it up. Bend your knee and put your ankle on your opposite knee and relax your leg. Pull your leg that your ankle is resting on towards you until you feel the stretch.
I hold this stretch for 30 seconds on each side and do both legs twice.

While doing the last stretch you can go into the next two stretches. While your knee is bent and ankle resting on the opposite knee, push down on the knee with the same hand as that knee. Hold this for 30 seconds, twice on each side.
Next, use your opposite hand to pull your knee towards you, stretching out the back of the thigh again. Hold this for 30 seconds, twice on each side.
So these are my current stretches to loosen up my hips and butt muscles. I have started strength training so that I can avoid injury in the future. I have also been told by a friend that full sit-ups helps to strengthen the hips, so I am making sure to get in my sit-ups every day now.

I am curious to know about how you stretch and the time commitment. Do you have a stretching routine? How long do you stretch after your runs?

16 comments:

Jessica @ Runningtobeskinny said...

You just described me in a nutshell. Thanks for this post, I really think now I'll strength train more and stretch properly. :) Jessica

runningtobeskinny.com

girlwiththeredhair said...

I got trouble from my RMT a few months ago for not stretching enough... I do go to yoga 2-3 times a week but I don't stretch after every run which is bad apparently.

I find that wide-legged child pose (feet together, knees the width of a yoga mat) works really deeply into my hips, and it's a stretch I can hold for awhile. I try to hold it for 2-3 minutes every night, if I remember...

robinbn said...

Yes please stretch and strength train. I am shocked with how weak I am. I am hoping I can get faster with these new changes.
Sent from my iPad

robinbn said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to try that today. I have a hard time with yoga so don't go but will do occasional poses if I think about it. I need to stretch! :)
Sent from my iPad

Jessica Morrison said...

I am the same way! I have had hip flexor issues when doing too much speedwork. Thanks for the stretch demos and recommendations!

robinbn said...

I had to cut down on speed work because of my hips. Luckily they do ok for long slow miles.
Sent from my iPad

runningforthekitchen said...

thanks for posting these! i learned pretty similar stuff from my PT but have been slacking lately but your post was a perfect reminder! and perfect timing too

Crystal Rhyno said...

Thanks for the photos. I am visual person so I always need to see the stretch. When I do stretch, I do the third one. I barely stretch and I am trying to do it more. But it's tough!

Suzanne Westenhofer said...

I need to stretch more than I do so thank you for reminding me how important it is. Glad you are able to tell some improvement!

Heather McAllister-Winkler said...

Thanks for the pictures. I knew about some of those stretches but not all of them.

kathy shoemaker said...

great information - thanks for sharing! I always stretch after my runs or I am a tight, sore mess!

Laura said...

I had knee pain when training for my 1st marathon 3 yrs ago (didn't run it) and added s/t and have had no issues since. I'm still not great about stretching, but try to do it after my runs for at least a few minutes. We have a lot in common! Can I add you to my blogroll? Would you be willing to add me as well? I'm still finding my niche in the blogging world. :)

robinbn said...

I'd love to be added to your blogroll and I will add you to mine. Believe me, I am still learning a lot about blogging. :)

Jamie Campbell said...

Thanks so much for this post! My hip flexors are so tight... and I am overcoming bursitis in my hip! I am definitely going to use these... esp since I KNOW my PT has showed these to me. :)

robinbn said...

I have been doing these stretches for over a month now and I am feeling so much better. I know how hard it is to let the stretches go for a bit.

Robert McGrath said...

I am ashamed to say I do no stretching before or after my runs... And hip flexor pain has just started to become an issue. I guess I need to budget in some stretching before I go get that beer....