Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time can tighten up the hip joint causing problems with posture, back & hip pain, and contribute to knee, foot, and ankle problems as well. Here are some stretches to help loosen up tight hip muscles and improve hip mobility:
Hip Flexor Stretch: Step into the lunge position with your right leg. Move your pelvis and torso forward slowly until you feel a stretch in front part of the left hip. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
Figure Four Stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent. Place the left ankle over the right knee to form a figure of four with your legs. Now hold the back of the right knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest. You should feel the stretch in your left glutes and hip.
Butterfly Stretch: Sit on the ground and bend your legs to touch the soles of your feet together. Bring both heels as close to the pelvis as possible letting your knees fall to either side. Use your elbow to gently push both knees towards the ground to open your hips.
Wide Squat: Stand with your feet greater than shoulder-width apart and squat down. Gently apply pressure with your elbows on the inside of each knee to slowly spread them apart and stretch your hips. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then relax.
Leg Swings: This is a good dynamic stretch to complete your hip stretching routine. Hold on to the back of a chair or table for balance when performing this stretch. While standing on one foot and swing the other foot from side to side in front of your body. Focus on swinging your leg like a pendulum with minimal twisting of your torso.
Before performing these stretches, do some brisk walking for about 5-10 minutes to warm up your hip joint. About 3 sets of 10 repetitions performed every day will keep your hips limber and protect them from injury as you grow older.
If you have hip pain that is limiting your mobility, its best to consult your doctor or a hip specialist before starting a new exercise program.
Dr. Benjamin Domb is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine and Hip Arthroscopy. He is the Founder and Medical Director at American Hip Institute, and is rated amongst the Top Doctors in the USA by the NY Times, US News & World Report, and Castle Connelly. The doctors at the American Hip Institute® have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.