The hip is a very unique joint. The depth of the socket, the strength of the muscles and ligaments surrounding it, and the way it functions in weight bearing activities is unlike any other joint in the body. The focus this month is on the relationship between the hip and the rest of the body.
The hip joint is a synovial joint, meaning it moves freely. It is a ball-and-socket joint that is made up of the femoral head (the “ball”) and the acetabulum (the “socket”). The ball is largely contained within the cup or socket, though there are genetic and cultural differences with regards to the depth and shape of the hip joint in any one individual.
The relationship between the hip and the surrounding joints is intimate in that each joint affects the next. For instance, ankle pronation—or the inward rolling of the foot and ankle—results in a knocked knee, which can then shift the hip outwards. The pelvis then drops down on that side, the tailbone or sacrum becomes unleveled or sloped, and the lower spine curves to compensate with the ultimate goal of keeping your eyes level. Hence, when your hip hurts, your doctor of chiropractic will examine and treat the ENTIRE lower kinetic chain—the foot, ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, and spine—as ALL are so closely related to each other. When it comes to managing you and your hip pain, be prepared for management of any of the following:
Once ankle pronation is properly corrected with a rear foot post and the hind foot is repositioned back to neutral (if LLD persists) a heel lift can be placed under the foot orthotic to corrective this imbalance. ONLY then will the pelvis become level and stable so it can properly serve as a strong foundation for the spine the rest of the body to rest on!
We haven’t touched the subject of muscle imbalance, strengthening of commonly weak hip extensor muscles, or stretching of overly tight hip flexors and adductor muscles—topics for another day! The good news—doctors of chiropractic can help you with this common problem!
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.