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Have a lack of flexibility or poor body mechanics?

By Alyssa Burke, LPTA

Hip problems are a common complaint we treat Loudoun Sports Therapy Center and it can affect all ages and activity levels. Many hip problems are often the result of an overuse injury and can interfere with your daily activities making walking, standing or even sitting painful or challenging. Three common hip problems are: osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis.

Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your hip joint becomes damaged from wear and tear over the years. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, stiffness and tenderness within the joint, which often makes walking and using stairs difficult. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa around your joint. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that protects the bones in the joint by acting like a cushion. Bursa can become inflamed from overuse. This can result in having pain with movements and limited range of motion within the hip. Finally, tendinitis is the inflammation of a muscle tendon. Performing strenuous and/or repetitive activities and movements can cause the tendons in our hips to become inflamed causing pain and discomfort with simple activities.

A common overuse injury in the hip that we see is IT band syndrome. This is a form on tendinitis that affects the IT band. The IT band seems to be a mystery to many people and they are often unsure how to solve their IT band injuries because they are so unfamiliar with it.  Contrary to many beliefs, the IT band is the long tendon, not a bone or muscle, which spans the length of your thigh attaching at your greater trochanter of your hip, down to the head of your fibula below the knee.

So why does your IT band get tight or feel painful? Here are a few reasons why the IT band becomes aggravated: repetitive movements or overuse, poor flexibility, and poor body mechanics. With repetitive movements such as running, the IT band can rub against the bones in your knee and hip causing irritation. This typically results in inflammation causing pain with movement of your hip and/or knee. The IT band can also lack flexibility causing increased tension. This makes it difficult for your joints and muscles function and move as they should. This also impacts your body mechanics. Having poor body mechanics alters the way your muscles and joints are working and can place increased loads or amounts of stress on tendons and joints that aren’t used to carrying that load. This can make some tissues tighter and unable to function as they should, resulting in pain and lack of range of motion.

Can physical therapy help resolve IT band syndrome? Yes, it can! At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our therapists will create a plan of care that involves a specific stretching routine, hands-on manual therapy and strengthening you can learn the strategies to help increase your tissue flexibility and strengthen the surrounding muscles with correct mechanics and form to ensure that your joint and surrounding structures are performing correctly. Call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300 and handle your hip problems for good!

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.


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