The Role of Hip Strengthening Among Overuse Injuries
Melissa Hollmann, PT, DPT
Owner, Peak Action Physical Therapy
Overuse injuries such as hamstring strains, knee pain, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis are some of the most common injuries among athletes. An overuse injury can be difficult to diagnose because there are often multiple contributing causes. Many lower body injuries are due to a combination of muscular imbalances and weakness in the core and hips as well as due to damaged tissue (muscles/ligaments) from repetitive trauma. These weaknesses and changes in the tissue lead to altered biomechanics in the sports we participate in. As our mechanics change we start to damage muscles that are overworking which further puts us at risk for injury. Over time these changes will also affect performance.
A large proportion of the power generated in sports such as cycling, running and swimming comes from the hips. When weakness develops in the hip stabilizers (abductors, glutes, and external rotators) it can often have a devastating effect on the knee and calf. The hip provides stability in all planes of motion. If the hip is weak it cannot stabilize our body. For example, if the hip is weak with running the hip and leg will rotate in causing injury to the hip, knee and calf over time. Many common sports injuries can be prevented with an individualized core and hip strengthening program once all the damaged tissue is removed through manual therapy techniques. If one already has an existing injury it is important to consult a healthcare professional to eliminate any damaged tissue and evaluate the extent of the injury prior to beginning a strengthening program.