Hip stiffness can cause multiple problems, including low back pain, knee pain and foot pain. For example, if a hip joint is stiff and you need to turn and change directions while walking or running, that hip joint would not move. Instead, your knee will naturally compensate for the movement. Since the knee goes only in one direction, the ligaments and tendons will tear if it moves in any other direction. Having full range of motion in your pelvis will minimize or eliminate many pains and injuries.
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Multi-Planar Hip Flexor Stretch
This exercise stretches your hip flexors and surrounding connective tissues and move them in three directions. This relaxes the hip flexors while activating your buttocks and deep trunk muscles.
Kneel with your left leg in front of you and the right knee on the ground. Keep your chest up and your abdominal muscles slightly pulled to your spine. Push your hips forward slightly and tighten your right buttock. You should feel a slight stretch in the hip flexors above your thigh. Raise your right arm above your head, hold for one deep breath. Bend laterally to your left and hold for another deep breath. While in this position, rotate your torso by turning your chest and right armpit up. Hold this position until you feel loose. Repeat for the other side.
Supine Hip Rotation
This exercise lengthens your outer thigh and hips while keeping your torso stationary. You should feel a stretch from your lower back through your buttocks.
Lay on your back with your knees bent and cross your left ankle over your right knee. Place your arms to your sides. Slowly push your left knee away from your body. Then slowly roll your hips to your right and try to put your left foot on the floor. Do not force yourself down if you cannot reach the floor. Keep your right knee bent the entire time. Hold the stretch until you feel loose. Repeat for the other side.
This stretches your inner thigh muscles while placing your spine in neutral position.
Lay on your back with your soles of your feet together and your arms out to your sides. Pull your feet toward your groin. The closer you pull, the more stretch you will feel. Allow gravity to pull your knees to the floor. You may feel that one knee may be higher than the other. Do not force it down. You may also let your lower back lift off the floor. Hold until you feel relaxed in your inner thighs and lower back.