The ligaments in your body connect your bones to other bones. In the hip, your hip ligaments connect the top of your thighbone to the pelvic bone. Because your ligaments keep your hip joint in place, they are vital to providing stability to the hip and leg. Your hip ligaments also have a role in leg movement, which means the ligaments can be stretched just like your leg muscles. While for the most part this stretching is a safe practice, in certain instances some stretches may not be recommended.
There are certain circumstances in which you should avoid stretching the hip ligament for fear of placing excess strain on injured muscles or joints. This includes when your hip is swollen, feels weaker than your other hip joint or when you experience extreme pain with hip movement. If you experience these symptoms, see your physician, who can evaluate your hip ligaments and surrounding hip structures for injury.
When you practice safe stretching, hip ligament and muscle stretching offers many benefits. This includes improving your range of motion in the joint. A flexible hip joint reduces pain and stiffness with basic movements like walking, sitting or getting out of a car. Flexible hip ligaments also improve your posture because loose ligaments pull less on the pelvic bone than tight ones, and this reduces lower back pain and helps you sit straighter. If you have received permission from your physician, you can stretch the hip joint following hip replacement, injury or muscle strain.
Inguinal Ligament Stretch
Your inguinal ligament is a hip ligament that runs across the top of the pubic bone. You may wish to stretch this ligament if you experience pain in the hip area when kneeling or have difficulty bringing your knees higher than your hips when seated. You may not be able to safely perform this stretch if you have pulled a groin muscle because further stretching could cause further pulling or stretching. To stretch this ligament, sit with your feet placed together on the floor and your knees slightly apart. Grasp your feet and pull them toward your groin. Lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight. Hold for five seconds, then release the stretch. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Stretching Safety Tips
When stretching the hip ligaments, it’s important to always follow a few safety practices to prevent injury or strain. Always warm up the muscles before stretching them. For the hip area, simply walking for five minutes can help. Do not bounce your legs as you stretch as this can contribute to strain. Remember, the goal of hip ligament stretching is to help you feel a deep, soothing stretch. If you experience pain or pulling in the hip region, cease the exercise and move on to another or stop the stretching session entirely.