A shortened hip is a condition where one side of your pelvis is tilted higher from a front or rear view of your body. This causes one leg to feel and appear longer than the other side. According to Anthony Carey, co-founder of Function First in San Diego,California, this postural deviation, known as elevation deviation, is one of the primary causes of back and hip pain, uneven wear on the knee and hip joints, and shoulder and neck pain on the opposite side of the hip. Exercises may not fully correct the problems, however, they can reduce the symptoms of pain and prevent the condition from worsening.
Prone Leg and Arm Glide
This exercise strengthens the deep muscles attached to your spine and moves the connective tissues on your left and right sides of your body in opposition. You may feel that one side of your body is tighter than the other side.
Place a towel on the ground, and lie on the ground face-down. Stretch your arms over your head with your palms facing down, and your legs about hip-distance apart. Reach up with your right arm, and reach down with your left leg as much as you can. Hold the reach for about two deep breaths. Alternate each side for a total of 10 to 20 reps for two sets.
Lateral Fascia Stretch
The fasciae (connective tissues) in your body surround and connect all muscles, joints, organs and other tissues, forming a single web throughout your body. The fasciae on the hip that is higher than the other is tighter and pulls toward its side. According to Ann and Chris Frederick, authors of "Stretch to Win," this exercise helps balance both sides of the lateral fascial line that runs from the outer ankle bone, through your outer legs and the outer sides of your torso, and up to the top, lateral side of your head.
Stand next to a sturdy pole or doorjamb to your left with your feet together. Lean your torso to the left side, and reach with your right arm over your head and your left arm to grab the support. Tighten your buttocks and push your hips to your right. You should feel a stretch from your armpits down to your upper hip. Hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths.
If one side is tighter than the other side, do an extra set on the tight side.
Supine Hip Twist
This exercise stretches your entire outer hip and fasciae in your lower back, hips and legs. Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and your palms facing down. Bend both legs and place your feet on the ground. Cross your left leg over your right knee, and slowly twist your hips to your right until your left foot touches the ground. Keep your left shoulder and arm on the ground. Hold this stretch for six to eight deep breaths.
- "Pain-Free Program"; Anthony Carey; 2005
- "Stretch to Win"; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006