Stiff hip stops NYC Marathon runner

Yesterday I worked with a very fit athlete who had planned on running the NYC Marathon this past November, but was shut out of the race because of stiffness in her right hip.

There are so many muscles that move your hip that I’m going to list some of them so we can talk about them, but there are others that we won’t be discussing. You can do an internet search and find each of the muscles online.

First of all, it’s important to understand (while you’re looking at each muscle) that muscles always move from the insertion point toward the origination point. This is important because it explains why you may feel pain that is far from the source of the problem. The perfect analogy is, if you pulled your hair at the end, your hair would be taut and your head hurts. But it won’t help to massage your skull, take medications, or (heaven forbid) have brain surgery, you just need to let go of your hair!

In exactly the same way, when a muscle is pulling hard on the tendon that inserts into your bone (usually at a joint) you don’t have a joint problem, you have a tight muscle problem.

The muscles of your hip that cause the most problems are: iliopsoas, quadriceps (specifically the rectus femoris), quadratus lumborum, tensor fascia lata & gluteus maximus(more on these another time – they are the cause of ITB syndrome), and piriformis (which is also one of the primary causes for sciatica).

When these muscles are in spasm from repetitive strain, they are each pulling your pelvis in a different direction and they are also preventing your leg to move out from your hip.

Fortunately, they are all easy to treat, and to self-treat. It’s just a matter of applying direct pressure to the muscles, in the right sequence, and only stretching after you have released your quadriceps and quadratus lumborum muscles. That sounds confusing, but if you go to you can read all about repetitive strain injuries and by going to the forum you’ll see how easy it is for people to treat themselves. In fact, you only need me to tell you where to press, and some creative ways to reach the points, and you’re good to go!

Back to the runner….her problem was all of the muscles that I mentioned above, plus her hamstrings were also tight (DON’T stretch your hamstrings until AFTER you have released the other muscles…more on this in another posting, but it’s so important to not stretch your hamstrings that I would be remiss to not mention it here). She was surprised to see that while her stiffness was on her right side, the majority of problems were coming from her left side (which is so often the case). Anyway, I treated her, and then she reviewed how to do the self-treatments, and she’s well on her way to being 100% better again.

I love my work!!!

Wishing you well,


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