By Gina Redican, Owner/Personal Trainer at Accel Fitness
Your hip flexors are made up of several muscles: the iliopsoas (which consists of two muscles, the psoas and iliacus) that stabilize the lower back, the rectus femoris (known as the quad) that extends the knee, the sartorius that flexes the knee and leg, and the pectineus (commonly referred to as the groin) that flexes the hip, and rotates and adducts the thigh. When these muscles, individually or collectively, become tight several problems can occur.
Symptoms of tight hip flexors are pain in the lower back and glutes, poor posture (specifically the inability to stand up straight) , and a change in gait (the way you walk) where the knee may move inward and overpronation of the foot occurs.
You can perform a simple test known as the Thompson Test to determine if you have tight hip flexors and perhaps specifically identify which muscle needs treatment.
Lie on your back on a flat surface such as a table or bed so your knees can hang at a 90 angle off the surface.
Bring both knees in towards your chest to allow your back to be flat against the table
Keep one knee at your chest with your hands then slowly lower the opposite leg and let it hang off the table.
If your thigh is flat against the table and your knee hangs at a 90 degree off the table, you have passed!
Failed test can result in either or both of the following:
Your thigh is elevated off the table indicating tight iliopsoas.
Your knee fails to bend to 90 indicating tight quads.
For many people the easiest remedy to tight hip flexors is to change your lifestyle. The leading cause of tight hip flexors is being sedentary. Decreasing the amount of time sitting by getting up and going for a walk can significantly increase mobility in your hips. In addition, incorporating some specific stretches and strengthening exercises into your routine will drastically improve your symptoms and flexibility.