How do you know if your hip flexors are tight?
There are 2 main types of tightness that I see in hip flexors.
#1. The muscles are short and tight.
#2. The muscles are actually long (think yoga person or ballet dancer) but it feels tight.
Both types are trying to tell you that something is going wrong in your body and needs to be fixed. If there is one thing I’ve learned about hip flexors over the years, they are the result not the cause of an issue. You need to find the underlying issue that’s causing the tightness and fix that to get your hip flexors to let go. I’d love to help you with that!
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The second type does not respond well to stretching and lots of stretching can create all kinds of issues. Not to say stretching can’t create issues in tight-short hip flexors as well, but the likelihood is a little less.
How do you know which one you have or if you have tight hip flexors at all?
Tight hip flexors can feel tight in strange places.
- Low Back Ache or Tightness with Standing
Ever stand around at a party or shopping and your low back start to ache? Yep, blame your hip flexors. But! It’s not their fault. They are simply tightening down to try and support your core. That comes back to building core endurance. More on that in the webinar.
- Neck Tightness and Pain
It’s not always related, but more times than not the patients I see with neck issues also have tight hip flexors. Once again, let’s take a second to reflect on association, not causation. The same issue that’s causing the tight hip flexors could be causing the neck issue. In general, I’ve found that if I add a hip flexor stretch (along with lots of strengthening) to the exercise routine of someone with neck pain, it helps the neck pain!
- Hip Tightness, Pinching or Butt Pain
Obviously, there is a lot more going on with these than just tight hip flexors BUT in most of these cases, the hip flexors are tight.
- Trouble getting in a deep breath of air.
Goes hand in hand with a tight psoas. (That’s a main hip flexor muscle.) Same thing here, not the hip flexor’s fault. (Check out the hip flexor webinar for all the details on this.)
- Poor Posture and Trouble Standing Up Straight
They attach to your spine and pelvis, so hip flexors really effect standing posture.
Lie diagonally on your back with your leg hanging off a bed. Hug the leg furthest from the edge into your chest (right leg for me). (I’m really pregnant in this pic so getting that knee in is a bit of an issue.)
Does your other leg hang down below the bed (left leg for me)? Does it feel tight in the front of your leg?
If it doesn’t hang below the edge of the bed, your hip flexors are tight! By the way, this is a great way to get in a stretch.