Tightness around the hip is bothersome since it affects our mobility. Whether one leads an active or a sedentary lifestyle, hip flexors can happen. Thankfully, this condition is treatable since massage guns can be used to ease tightness – our post for today will focus on the condition, its causes, prevention and the ways in which you can release hip flexor with a massage gun.

Hip Flexors: All You Need To Know

The Hip Flexor Muscles

To further understand the condition, you have to first know the muscles that compose the hip flexors. These muscles are located throughout the hips and their function is to help both the legs and trunk move together. For example, the hip flexors engage themselves whenever we bend at the hips or lift our legs up.

The muscles included in the hip flexors are the following:

1. Iliopsoas

These are 2 different muscles that stabilise muscles from the lower back – the iliacus and psoas muscles. The iliacus fastens the pelvis to the femur and helps in rotating our thighs. The psoas runs from the lower back throughout the pelvis and connects to the thigh bone or femur.

2. Rectus Femoris

The rectus femoris connects the pelvis to the knees. This muscle is used when doing lunges or squats.

3. Sartorius

This muscle runs from the pelvis up to the knee. It is used for flexing the leg and knee.

4. Pectineus

Also known as the groin muscle, this muscle is utilized for hip flexions. It also helps in rotating the thighs.

When these muscles work together, it creates flexion – this refers to the tightening and motion of muscles that allows flexing of the hip joint. The hip flexors also facilitate spine stabilisation. To make them functional and prevent strain around the area, the hip flexors should be strengthened.

What Causes Tightening Of The Hip Flexors?

Straining at the hip flexors typically starts whenever we bend the muscle abruptly in an unnatural manner. Hip flexors become engaged when you bring a knee in the direction of the torso.

Following the sudden movement, we will sense a rather strong ‘popping’ feel in the anterior hip. Swelling and pain usually develop after this.

Some of the most common causes of tight hip flexors include the following:

  • Physical Activities

Hip flexors are placed under plenty of pressure during physical activities like sports, training/exercise, running, martial arts and dancing, among others. Athletes and fitness buffs who utilise hip flexors in their sports or training/exercise routines are vulnerable to tight hip flexors or injury which leads to the tearing of muscles.

  • Prolonged Sitting

Whenever we are seated, the hip flexors are not activated and instead, it rests in positions that are unnatural. When muscles contract, it typically drags two bones at the same time. This pulling happens whenever a joint gets bent. Our legs and torso are pulled together when we sit down – however, the hip flexors are not activated. Tightness and pain are then experienced since prolonged sitting causes the shortening of hip flexors.

Tight Hip Flexor Indications

The most obvious sign of this particular condition is general tightness around the hip part; you try stretching them and the movement around that part is limited. There are still other signs that you have to be aware of though since this condition affects other parts of the body.

Here are several indications of tight hip flexors:

  • Difficulty standing straight
  • Pain in the lower back when standing
  • Pain felt around the glutes
  • Tight, painful neck
  • Poor posture

You can also do a self-test to determine if you have the condition. Just follow this set of instructions.

Tight Hip Flexor Test

  • Lie on your back on a table or any elevated flat surface
  • Pull one knee in the direction of the chest
  • Hold the knee in that position
  • Allow the other leg to relax downward over the table’s edge

Your hip flexors are okay if you are capable of completely extending your thigh so the body part is parallel to the floor surface. If you can bend your knee to 90 degrees without lifting your thigh, then your hip flexors are quite fine. Difficulty in doing those movements is a sign that your hip flexors are strained.

How To Fix Tight Hip Flexors

1. Stretch The Right Way

Stretches can help treat tight hip flexors if done the right way. First, you need to ask yourself a few questions to see if stretching them will be appropriate for your case.

Is your muscle missing its usual range of motion? If you stretch, does it improve your range of motion? Do you feel pain whenever you stretch? If you answered no to those questions, then stretching is not the treatment for your condition.

However, if your answer is on the positive, then stretches can help your case. There are lots of stretches that can help fix tight hip flexors with passive and active stretching as the most popular options.

For active stretching, you need to pull the muscle actively into a longer position by employing the muscle which encompasses the part that you are stretching.

For passive stretching, you have to lengthen the muscle to the limits of its range. There is no need for you to activate the muscle which encompasses the part that you are stretching.

2. Use A Massage Gun

Massage is another treatment that can help ease tight hip flexors. The percussing element that the device produces is actually more ideal for the job since it will not leave the affected area feeling bruised after the procedure.

Arm strength is needed to produce pressure so the intensity can be varied. Depending on the area that you want to tackle, you can vary the pressure from a hard, pressing one or using a softer approach.

3. Strengthen The Hip Flexors Through Exercise

If you experience frequent tightness on your hip flexors, it is time to strengthen them. Exercises that reinforce muscles at the hip, core and glutes are ideal for preventing tight hips. Try including single-leg squats, lying leg raises, glute bridges and mountain climbers in your routine regularly.

How To Use Massage Gun On Tight Hip Flexors

As mentioned previously, you can use the device to ease knots in the hip area. Here are some of the essentials you need to know to release hip flexor with a massage gun.

Recommended Head Attachment

The majority of massage guns come with several mounting heads. If you want to target bigger muscle groups, the ball attachment is ideal for it – it is great for tackling tight knots.

For larger surfaces, attachments with flat heads are ideal.

Instructions For Using Massage Gun

For deep, narrow knots:

  1. Choose the attachment needed
  2. Switch on the massage gun
  3. Select the speed setting
  4. Apply the device to the target area

For tight, deep knots:

  1. Choose the ball head attachment
  2. Switch the massage gun on
  3. Choose the speed setting
  4. Allow the device to rest on the affected part for several seconds

Remember, massage guns are great to use not only for convenience but for their customisable benefits. The device can be adjusted according to your needs and preferences. The attachments and speed mentioned in this post are merely suggestions. Feel free to select the speed and attachment that are appropriate for your case.

Massage gun treatments also go well with stretching exercises. If stretching is necessary for your specific tight hip flexor case, you can apply the stretches mentioned earlier along with massage gun use.

Preventive Tips

Individuals who are prone to tight hip flexors like athletes and fitness enthusiasts should take extra care not to overstretch their hip flexors. Muscles should be warmed-up properly before participating in any strenuous training or exercise activity.

Those who sit all day at work can avoid hip flexor strain by moving around or walking every so often at work. Lastly, maintaining correct body weight can help prevent the condition from occurring as well.

Conclusion

Tight hip flexors are often experienced by active individuals and can also affect people with sedentary lives. It’s a good thing that treatment for this is available through stretching, proper exercises and devices like massage guns. Many have opted to release hip flexor using a massage gun due to its convenience and deep tissue massage capabilities.

Related Questions

1. Are massage guns good for office workers?

Office workers are often prone to bodily pains and stress so a massage gun can help ease those troubles. The massage gun’s self-massaging capabilities and percussive elements deliver similar results as that of a professional massage.

2. Can I use a massage gun on my lower back?

If you are prone to lower back pain, a massage gun is helpful in eliminating it. The percussive properties of a massage gun are ideal for relaxing tight muscles. Using a massage gun also makes for a convenient way to relieve your body of aches and pains. There’s no need to set up an appointment with a massage therapist in case you do not have enough time for such arrangements.

Emma Pyke
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