It’s my knees that hurt!!! Why do I have to strengthen my hips?

By Orla Magorrian, head physiotherapist at Functional Training Ireland.

 For anyone who is active, regardless of age, knee problems can occur. This can result in having to take some time off from your sport or activity to ‘rest’, so that the problem settles.  You can then get dismayed when on return to your activity your problem has not cleared up.

Why is this? Unless you have a traumatic one-off event (e.g. rupturing a ligament) most knee problems are due to overload of forces on certain structures in the knee joint or surrounding region ( Ilio-tibial band, Patella-femoral joint). This is due to problems elsewhere, notably the hips.

Let’s take our everyday lives. We sit down at desks for up to 10 hours a day, as well as time spent commuting to and from those desks. Our Neanderthal ancestors walked around for 12 -14 hours a day hunting and gathering.  Because we are mostly sedentary our hip joints have not developed the way that  they should resulting in lack of flexibility and reduced strength in our Gluteal muscles (Glut Max, Med and Min!)  These factors mean that in any two-legged activity where we put one foot in front of the other (even cycling which is non weight-bearing) our hips are not helping our knees as much as they should.

Here at Functional Training we start with assessing and correcting hip function in dealing with injuries or movement problems that are affecting performance.  When it comes to Core Stability you’ll find it is more about the hips than the Abdominals, and it certainly has nothing to do with having a six-pack or doing 300 sit-ups on a daily basis!

So if you want to ensure you get the most out of your hips and subsequently your training check in with us here at Functional Training!

 Note: Even if you exercise daily, we are all still considered sedentary because we are not on our feet for most of our waking day.  Gray Cook, the prominent US physio/ strength coach states that we need 8- 10 hours a day of weight-bearing for NORMAL hip joint development.

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