Hip advice please

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skippysheila
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Hip advice please

Postby skippysheila » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:31 pm UTC

I've not long started doing martial arts training (specifically this) and am having some issues with one hip. Every time I get to the point of being taught a new kick (every month or so), both my hips suffer - I think years of relative inactivity are catching up with me, and there are muscles being found that haven't been called upon for ages. One hip recovers about as fast as I'd expect, but the other (Gimpy Hip) seems to take a lot longer and not reach as good a state (in terms of function, pain stops being an issue after a few sessions with the new kick). I think it's probably related to some S/I joint and spinal issues I have - two doctors, one orthopedic surgeon and a non-barking mad chiropractor have all said that the exercise will help and that the spine problems should not stop me doing this, although they may mean I take longer to improve. I also had Perthes disease as a child, but didn't think it was an issue any longer - although this may account for the difference in hip strength/pain, as Gimpy Hip was more badly affected at the time.

Having said all that, can anyone point me at any useful stretches (because Gimpy Hip is very tight, including the IT band and the muscles at the front of the top of my leg) and/or any useful hip strengthening exercises? Pretend I don't have the spinal issues, as I've got pretty good at either looking at something and thinking "yeah... nope", or trying it and realising before anything drastic happens that it isn't going to work. The only medical-type person I see regularly at the moment is the chiropractor, and he's done what he can and is reluctant to mess with it any further. I've not had much luck finding anything that works, so I'm hoping that maybe you fine people have some resources I haven't found yet.

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Evengeduld
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby Evengeduld » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

Well where exactly on your hip are you getting sore because there are quite a lot of muscles running on the hip, and giving stretching advice without knowing which one hurts is hard ;)

also it might be a good idea to go and consult a physiotherapist because sitting still can mean some muscles didn't develop like they should have for the sport you are doing he/she might know some good exercises to strengthen them
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skippysheila
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby skippysheila » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:14 pm UTC

Evengeduld wrote:Well where exactly on your hip are you getting sore because there are quite a lot of muscles running on the hip, and giving stretching advice without knowing which one hurts is hard ;)

also it might be a good idea to go and consult a physiotherapist because sitting still can mean some muscles didn't develop like they should have for the sport you are doing he/she might know some good exercises to strengthen them


That would have helped, wouldn't it... Sorry...

The pain is mostly around the actual head of my femur - it's not joint pain as such, but it's really close to it. The thing I find most painful is one of the stretches we do in class - pretty standard one, I think, it's lie on back, lift up one leg, put opposite hand on knee and move leg across the body so you end up twisting the lower spine a bit with the knee across the other side of the body. On the non-gimpy side it stretches something down the lower back/buttock area, but Gimpy Hip hurts enough that I can't actually get that leg far enough acros my body to stretch anything. I've tried doing this much more slowly at home, and it does seem like it's that muscle (the one that that stretch should be stretching) that isn't as developed - it's like there's nothing much there to stretch. The other one that hurts like that is butterfly stretch (I think it's called) where you sit up, put the soles of your feet together and lean forward. Again, if I do it really slowly I can let Gimpy Hip relax eventually, but that leg doesn't go as far down a the other even if it is relaxed. The bit that hurts on that stretch as well as the area around the joint of the hip itself is the tendon that runs up the inside of the leg and attaches right at the front of the pelvis, and the area just above that in the crease of the leg. Hope that makes sense - if I could draw at all it would make life easier...

Physio - I've tried it in the past, and it had mixed results. Two physios have tried to sort it out, one with no success at all (she was useless, actually, I should have given up long before I did) and the other said that the IT band was causing it all and I should stretch that first - then he tried to get it to stretch in a variety of directions and couldn't, it pops across the head of the femur before it starts stretching (snapping hip - prob. from the Perthes). He did at least give me enough of a hard time about core strength and my spine that I did the exercises and that bit got heaps better. The other problem is I'm in the UK, and trying to get physiotherapy on the NHS where I live when you're not either disabled by pain (and I'm really not, it's more annoying than anything else) or recovering from an acute injury or an operation generally involves a very long wait, two appointments and a rapid discharge with a photocopied sheet of exercises. I could go to a private physio, and may well, but I've had some success in the past with just trying lots of stuff and seeing what works, and I'd rather not spend the money until I fell like I've given it a proper go myself.

So, all possible ways of stretching IT bands and anything else relevant gratefully received!

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Nath
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby Nath » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:08 am UTC

Your best bet would be to foam roll. To roll your left IT band: get a foam roller (or a thick PVC pipe, or two tennis balls taped together), lie on your left side with your IT band on the roller, plant your right foot on the ground in front of your left knee. Keep your left leg straight, with the toe pointing straight ahead (i.e. the line from heel to toe is parallel to the ground). Start at the top, along your hip. Slowly roll your body upwards, causing the roller to move towards the side of your knee. If you come upon a knot, stay and work on it gently for a few seconds. Go all the way from hip to knee and back a few times. It will hurt like a massage from someone who hates you. That's normal. Repeat on the other side.

Standing IT band stretch: internally rotate your left hip, i.e. point your left toe to the right. Now cross your right foot in front of the left, with the right heel in front of the left heel and the right foot's toes in front of the left foot's toes. Without rotating at the waist, push your hips to the left. Explore this position until you feel the stretch in your IT band area. Let me know if it's hard to visualize these positions, and I'll make a diagram or something.

More stretches here. The hip capsule stuff may help, even if you don't have one of those elastic bands.

For strengthening, squats and deadlifts will balance out any muscle imbalances in your hips and legs. Learn good form, and do sets of five with a challenging weight. The book 'Starting Strength' is the clearest explanation I've seen of good form for these exercises.

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skippysheila
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby skippysheila » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:55 am UTC

Nath wrote:Your best bet would be to foam roll.


I'll try this, thanks.

Nath wrote:Standing IT band stretch.


Has been tried, makes both hips snap (i.e.: the IT band manages to manoeuvre itself into a position where it's not being stretched). Stupid hips.

Nath wrote:More stretches here. The hip capsule stuff may help, even if you don't have one of those elastic bands.


Thanks! I'll have a hunt through.

Nath wrote:For strengthening, squats and deadlifts will balance out any muscle imbalances in your hips and legs. Learn good form, and do sets of five with a challenging weight. The book 'Starting Strength' is the clearest explanation I've seen of good form for these exercises.


Do you have any suggestions for things that might by lying around the house that I could use to do this sort of thing, or bodyweight-type exercises that are similar? I'm not a member of a gym or anywhere I'd have access to weights and a knowledgeable person, and I'm reluctant to a.) spend money buying weights for home, or a gym membership when I know I won't go and b.) start off without someone else there who has even a vague idea what these things are supposed to look like. No problem if not, I'm hoping the martial arts stuff will eventually sort it out and I'll bite the bullet and see a physio if it doesn't, I'm just trying to hurry it up as it's getting boring in the meantime.

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Enuja
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby Enuja » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:16 pm UTC

My sister has sacro-illiac joint issues, and has gotten some good help from physical therapists. She's got a few favorite stretches that serve to loosen her S/I and then put it back right whenever it gets out of whack: I'll ask her about them, and maybe she can point to some good online resources. Honestly, however, it sounds like you're doing the right things. Paying attention to your body, figuring out what works for you and what doesn't, and strengthening your muscles with exercise is my best advice, and it sounds like you are doing that. My sister hasn't really been getting better, in large part because she can't tell the difference between good pain and bad pain, and doesn't actually do the strengthening exercises. So she's gotten really good at coping with the short term problems, but having those problems crop up time and time again is just no good. I've never been diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure I have occasional S/I join issues as well. In my case, though, I feel them coming on and improve my posture or gait or whatever, and I don't have the problems when I'm exercising regularly, and therefore am more robust.

On stretching before martial arts: I've read that static stretches (holding the stretch) before exercise, despite how popular they have been for so many years, actually do not reduce injury and might, in some cases, actually make injury more likely. So when the group of people are doing static martial arts stretches together at the beginning of class, you should probably not join in, and do dynamic stretching instead. For the hip stretch you describe, for example, I'd move my hip towards and away from the stretch, but not even put my hand on the knee, so as not to stretch it too far. To a keep a stretch from being static but to participate with the group, I'd probably do the stretch but not hold it. There are lots of fantastic dynamic stretches designed to be such, though, and a lot of marital arts groups do a lot of dynamic stretches together.

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Nath
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby Nath » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:17 am UTC

skippysheila wrote:Do you have any suggestions for things that might by lying around the house that I could use to do this sort of thing, or bodyweight-type exercises that are similar? I'm not a member of a gym or anywhere I'd have access to weights and a knowledgeable person, and I'm reluctant to a.) spend money buying weights for home, or a gym membership when I know I won't go and b.) start off without someone else there who has even a vague idea what these things are supposed to look like. No problem if not, I'm hoping the martial arts stuff will eventually sort it out and I'll bite the bullet and see a physio if it doesn't, I'm just trying to hurry it up as it's getting boring in the meantime.

Well, you can do bodyweight squats, or goblet squats with, say, those 5 gallon water cooler jugs. I can probably dig up some instructions online if you want. But that's far from ideal, since it's hard to scale up smoothly as a properly designed strength program should, and I can't really think of any good posterior chain exercises that you could do that way (bodyweight and goblet squats are usually quad-heavy). But that'd be better than nothing. A cheap set of dumbbells off Craigslist would be one step up, since they are less awkward to hold onto, and you can scale up (albeit in too-big increments). Dumbbells would also open up a lot more exercise options (e.g. deadlift variants, swings, get-ups). The most scalable and versatile solution would be a barbell and some plates, but oh well.

Training without a knowledgeable partner is also not ideal, but coaching yourself from a book is not as hopeless as it sounds. I did it, and saw OK results. If you're a visual learner, there are also DVDs and online videos I could suggest, and websites where people will critique your form for free if you post a video. The strength community is quite generous that way.

As for the 'I know I won't go' thing, well, I can't motivate you from here. Maybe you could get a training partner from your martial arts school. But really, if you decide to get stronger, it'll happen, and if you don't, it won't.

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skippysheila
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby skippysheila » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Well, you can do bodyweight squats, or goblet squats with, say, those 5 gallon water cooler jugs. I can probably dig up some instructions online if you want. But that's far from ideal, since it's hard to scale up smoothly as a properly designed strength program should, and I can't really think of any good posterior chain exercises that you could do that way (bodyweight and goblet squats are usually quad-heavy). But that'd be better than nothing. A cheap set of dumbbells off Craigslist would be one step up, since they are less awkward to hold onto, and you can scale up (albeit in too-big increments). Dumbbells would also open up a lot more exercise options (e.g. deadlift variants, swings, get-ups). The most scalable and versatile solution would be a barbell and some plates, but oh well.


Thank for that - I'll give it a go, and try to get some dumbbells. I'm aware it's not the best possible option but it's probably the best I can do.

Nath wrote:Training without a knowledgeable partner is also not ideal, but coaching yourself from a book is not as hopeless as it sounds. I did it, and saw OK results. If you're a visual learner, there are also DVDs and online videos I could suggest, and websites where people will critique your form for free if you post a video. The strength community is quite generous that way.


Ah, OK. I'll see if I can find some videos.

Nath wrote:As for the 'I know I won't go' thing, well, I can't motivate you from here. Maybe you could get a training partner from your martial arts school. But really, if you decide to get stronger, it'll happen, and if you don't, it won't.


It's not that I'm not motivated, it's just that I'm a single parent with a child who's not old enough to leave alone who works full-time, so getting out of the house to somewhere she can't come (and none of the gyms around here have childcare available when I'd be able to go) is very tricky, and not something I can commit to on a regular basis. We can do martial arts together, which was one of the main attractions before we started. There might well be someone at martial arts who wants to share something like that, and the instructor would probably be OK with us storing stuff there (space is an issue in my flat!) or possibly even buying it for the school to use, and my daughter could just hang around for another half an hour... That's actually a very interesting idea, thanks.

But yeah, it did come across like "It's your problem to fix my lack of motivation": sorry about that. Also sorry if it came across like I was shooting down all your suggestions without thinking about them.

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Nath
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Re: Hip advice please

Postby Nath » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:53 am UTC

skippysheila wrote:Ah, OK. I'll see if I can find some videos.

To start with, this DVD is from the authors of the book I suggested. I've never seen the DVD, though, so I can't vouch for it personally. But there are clips online, so you can see whether it's the sort of thing you're looking for. The Crossfit website also has a lot of video content, but the quality is highly variable, so it's probably not a good resource until you have enough experience to tell the good from the bad.

skippysheila wrote:It's not that I'm not motivated, it's just that I'm a single parent with a child who's not old enough to leave alone who works full-time, so getting out of the house to somewhere she can't come (and none of the gyms around here have childcare available when I'd be able to go) is very tricky, and not something I can commit to on a regular basis. We can do martial arts together, which was one of the main attractions before we started. There might well be someone at martial arts who wants to share something like that, and the instructor would probably be OK with us storing stuff there (space is an issue in my flat!) or possibly even buying it for the school to use, and my daughter could just hang around for another half an hour... That's actually a very interesting idea, thanks.

But yeah, it did come across like "It's your problem to fix my lack of motivation": sorry about that. Also sorry if it came across like I was shooting down all your suggestions without thinking about them.

Not at all; I'm just throwing out ideas in the hope that one or two are applicable.

The weights in the martial arts club is probably a good idea as well. My grappling club has some kettlebells and dumbbells we can use, and we're thinking about getting a bar, some plates and a squat rack at some point.


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