Anterior Hip Pain In Dancers & Gymnasts
I see a fair amount of dancers and gymnasts in the White Bear Lake PT clinic
and often the area of pain these patients complain of is due to pain in the front of their hip. The pain usually is one that comes on gradually, might start as a minor pain they feel during dance or gymnastics practice, but progressively worsens to the point that often it hurts to walk. The culprit is usually a tight, strained hip flexor
(this is the muscle that goes from the front of the hip bone down the front of their hip) and it is fixable. Hindsight is 20/20 but I wish I could be a fly on the wall in our local gymnastic gyms and dance studios and whisper in the ears of people experiencing this type of pain to see a Physical Therapist sooner vs. later. There's no need to train and compete with this pain!
There are a few things I often incorporate into my treatment planning for this type of patient, including manual therapy and exercises to focus on areas of muscle weakness (this is usually for their low abs, glutes, hips, and hamstrings), but correcting their posture is something people can be working on from visit one and during the course of each day to decrease the amount strain and stress to this area. In its simplest form, I have people decrease the amount of arch in their back.
Dancers and gymnasts are too "archy" and too extended through their spine with too much anterior (forward) tilt to their pelvis. Getting people to decrease the amount of arch by properly using their lower abs can make an immediate difference in their posture and in their overuse of their hip flexors. Patients are progressed to using other muscles to also assist with this, as well as improving the flexibility of their hip flexors and other postural cues for rib position and shoulder blade position, but I want my take home message of this blog post to be: Use your lower abs to tuck your tailbone under to decrease the amount of arch in your back and this will often help decrease the strain to the front of the hip and help with this pain.