Why You Have “Tight” Hips and What to Do About It


You might need skilled hip stiffness and discomfort after a difficult exercise, lengthy automobile experience, or sitting at your desk for a number of hours. Provided that that is frequent problem for health professionals and their shoppers, it’s useful to grasp the underlying causes of hip tightness, the best way to handle it, and the best way to establish when you ought to search medical recommendation for the problem.

Anatomy of the Hips

To grasp the causes of hip tightness, it helps to you the place your hips are situated.

Many individuals use the time period hips as a common solution to consult with the world across the pelvis. Anatomically nevertheless, your hip is outlined as a ball and socket joint, the place the top of the femur (or thigh bone) suits right into a rounded socket known as the acetabulum. The acetabulum is the place the ischium, ilium, and pubis, or bones of the pelvis meet.

The articulating surfaces of the hip joints are lined in clean cartilage, which permits the bones to glide towards one another with ease throughout motion. The hip is surrounded by ligaments, tendons, and muscle groups, which maintain the bones in place and stop it from dislocating. Your hips assist the burden of your physique when standing, strolling, working, and squatting and are liable for the motion of your higher legs.

Spatially, you may as well consider your hips because the creases, created while you sit, between your higher leg bones and the entrance of your pelvis. When you’ve ever skilled hip stiffness or discomfort, it was most likely situated round this space. Generally, this will even be described as tight hip flexors.

Potential Causes of Hip Tightness

Whereas many individuals will describe hip discomfort or stiffness as tightness, it’s essential to notice that tightness isn’t a medical time period and might’t be quantified and measured. Nonetheless, there are a number of elements that may contribute to what’s usually described as hip tightness.

In some circumstances, there may be an underlying situation that’s inflicting hip stiffness or ache. A few of these circumstances embody arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and hip labral tears. When you expertise audible clicking, grinding, or ongoing ache and stiffness in your hip, which doesn’t get higher with relaxation, then it’s beneficial that you simply seek the advice of a medical supplier for a prognosis and remedy.

Nonetheless, many people will expertise delicate to reasonable hip tightness with out there being something flawed with the joint. On this case, the expertise of tightness is usually the results of not utilizing our hips of their fullest vary of movement, and weak spot or instability across the joint.

This occurs as a result of for many of us fashionable life requires that we sit for at the least a part of our day. Whereas sitting isn’t inherently unhealthy to your hips, when you sit in a single place for lengthy durations of time, it means that you’re solely utilizing your hips in a restricted vary of movement.

Moreover, you might be solely robust within the ranges of movement that you simply use frequently. If a big proportion of your day is spent sitting or standing in a single place, it is smart that your hip muscle groups shall be weaker within the ranges of movement that transcend these positions, which you don’t use as often.

It’s believed that your nervous system will ship a sign of stiffness or discomfort when it senses weak spot round a joint to guard you from transferring into a variety which you could’t management, which might end in harm. Your nervous system may also ship these alerts when it has problem sensing the place a joint is in house. That is typically known as a lack of proprioception and has been related to assuming repetitive postures comparable to sitting [1].

That is additionally why stretching doesn’t at all times create lasting reduction from hip tightness. In lots of circumstances, the problem isn’t brought on by brief or tight muscle groups, and it’s potential to really feel tight whereas having regular vary of movement within the hips. On this state of affairs, emotions of tightness could also be as a result of weak spot and lack of motion across the hip joints.

How you can Deal with Hip Stiffness

As talked about above, you must seek the advice of a medical supplier when you expertise power hip ache or stiffness that doesn’t resolve with relaxation or worsens over time. Nonetheless, many people can use motion as a solution to scale back emotions of tightness and discomfort.

Whereas there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer, listed below are some approaches which you could discover to deal with hip stiffness.

Foam Rolling, Therapeutic massage, and Tender Tissue Launch Work

Whereas foam rolling or massaging your tissues received’t make your muscle groups longer, it might probably create some reduction when you really feel stiff and sore after a difficult exercise. Foam rolling additionally creates a short lived enhance in vary of movement or flexibility, which you should utilize to arrange your physique for train. Nonetheless, to take care of these modifications, it would be best to observe up with energy work to show your physique the best way to use and management this newfound vary of movement.


Very like foam rolling and therapeutic massage, static stretching can enhance flexibility and reduce emotions of tightness or discomfort. Nonetheless, if you have already got a variety of flexibility or if stretching doesn’t relieve the signs, you would possibly need to take into account layering in energy and mobility work to coach your physique the best way to management the pliability that you simply’ve created by stretching.

Mobility and Stability Drills

You’ll be able to consider mobility drills as dynamic stretching the place you progress your hips by full ranges of movement. These workout routines normally contain little to no weight and might enhance physique consciousness and management by the hips. Stability workout routines are additionally usually unloaded and concentrate on coaching the smaller postural muscle groups that assist observe your joints while you transfer. Oftentimes, rising stability will enhance mobility. Some examples of pelvic stability workout routines embody impartial bridging, aspect leg lifts, fowl canines, and useless bugs.

Power Coaching

As talked about above, typically weak spot can manifest as stiffness. Workout routines comparable to deadlifts, squats, step-ups, and lunges require transferring the hips by massive ranges of movement with management. This may help enhance physique consciousness, enhance mobility, and strengthen the muscle groups across the hips to assist the joints.

In Conclusion

Hip stiffness can stem from a wide range of locations and the very best strategy for addressing it’s an individualized one. Nonetheless, in case you are not sure of the place to begin, a great common guideline is to maneuver and strengthen your hips in all instructions. This may imply selecting workout routines that contain hip flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, inner rotation, and exterior rotation. This would possibly appear like working towards stability and mobility workout routines as a part of your warm-up after which following up with decrease physique energy work.

When you attempt a number of the strategies define above, discover what appears to lower stiffness within the second and the way you are feeling the following day. This can provide you perception on what works effectively to your physique and what doesn’t appear to be as efficient. Additional time, you should utilize this info to determine what your greatest choices for each exercises and restoration is perhaps and to raised perceive how your physique responds to various kinds of workout routines and self-care instruments.


Dr. Greg Lehman, Reconciling Biomechanics With Ache Science, Restoration Methods – Ache Guidebook, http://www.greglehman.ca/pain-science-workbooks/

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