Mobility of the Hip – Ashley Johnston AEP

Mobility is the extent of which a particular joint moves through its range of motion. In the human body, the hip joint can move through: extension, flexion, abduction, adduction, internal and external rotation. However, when performing activities of daily living (such as sitting, standing, walking and stepping), the hip most commonly moves through extension and flexion. Typically the range of motion at the hip joint should move through 0 to 125 degrees of flexion and 115 to 0 degrees of extension. There are many factors that can influence mobility at the hip joint. Chronic conditions, injury, surgery or even age can all play a part in effecting hip range of motion.

To manage and improve the mobility of the hip joint, it is important to keep moving. This may include walking, swimming or participating in recommended strengthening exercises. The hip is a very mobile joint and allows the lower limbs to move freely and easily around the joint. When hip mobility is compromised, people may experience symptoms of sticking, jerking, resistive movements and altered gait pattern.

Improvements in mobility can be achieved through participating in regular strengthening exercises. Primarily these should be exercises that mimic movements required to perform activities of daily living and muscle recruitment such as

  •  Replicating Motions Required During Gait:-  
    • An example of such an exercise is a step tap: With a step positioned in front of you, bend at the knee lifting the foot off the floor. Make sure that you keep the knee and hip facing forward as you lift the foot up to the step. There should be no sideways motion with this exercise. If you wish to gradually progress this exercise you can use a higher step.  
  • Stepping Motions:-  
    • An example of such a exercise is a step over: Have one foot on top of the step then step all the way over to the front of the step, then step all the way back to the starting position. This exercise can be performed with a step or a foam pad to add in a element of balance  
  • Seated Exercise:- 
    • An example of such a exercise is a ball squeeze: Sitting on a chair, place a small ball between the knees. Push the knees together and hold for a count of 5 before relaxing.