Before you settle in to read this blog on hips I would like you to first sit back in your comfy chair with your feet flat on the floor directly below your knees.
Now cross one leg, placing the outside of the ankle upon the thigh of your other leg. Hold this position for a few seconds and then swap legs.
Do they both feel the same? We will return to this later…
You were, hopefully, born with two identical, functioning hips. Whomever the medically trained individual was that was present at your birth, they will have checked your hips. They will have ensured that they were objectively, clinically satisfied with the range of movement in your brand new hips. If you were never referred for further investigation due to concerns with the available movement at your hips, then you can safely assume that you were born with perfect hips!
During the first couple of years after being born you will have learned to walk in the normal way by first shuffling then crawling followed by a touch of furniture walking before fearlessly attempting your first solo walking mission. You and your marvellous hips have already achieved a borderline miraculous achievement by elevating you from all fours and balancing almost your entire body weight in a near straight, vertical line above your feet. Something your body was definitely NOT designed to do!
To maintain this standing position, especially when walking and undeniably when running, all the muscles around your hip joints are constantly and consistently working at almost maximum capacity. Without the grouping of fantastic muscles located around your hip joints, you would inevitably fall straight back to ground. The phenomenally complex neurological mechanisms involved in elevating and mobilising your body have been mastered before you developed the ability of coherent speech. Incredible!
Back to the present day. How did you go on crossing your legs? I will safely bet that, even if you are comfortable sitting with your legs crossed, they probably feel different.
One side will surely feel more comfortable than the other. So, what has gone wrong with the perfect, matching hips you were born with? Have they suddenly, after all this time begun to let you down? No.
It is estimated that a maximum of 2 in every 1000 babies are born with hip problems. These dysfunctional hips are identified during the post-birth examination previously identified. Assuming you were never referred following your birth for one or the other hip being found to be dysfunctional (left hip dysfunction is more prevalent than right hip dysfunction!) there can only be one reason. Over your walking and running life, you have developed an increased passive residual tension in the muscles surrounding your hips. This is completely normal in our current society. Very few people know how to avoid this happening and how best to maintain their hip mobility.
You can start to look after your hips with the position you began reading this post. This crossed leg position is a fantastic technique for overall mobilisation of your hips. If you regularly adopt this position you will be doing something wonderful for your hips. Aim to don and doff your socks and shoes in this position every time and you will be doing something amazing for your hips! There are, of course, more involved and intricate techniques should you have time for them, although just starting with these basics will make great inroads into improving your hip mobility.
Remember: If you let your hips down NOW, you can hardly blame them for letting YOU down in the future!