On a recent podcast we discussed complex hip problems, particularly hip stability and mobility issues lending themselves to anterior hip pain.
We have often mentioned ankle rocker being important in the discovery of hip pain, insufficient rocker can cause some impairments and abilities to get to ample hip extension function and range.
Here, this slightly older article mirrors a discussion we had on a recent podcast. We discussed the need for balance in the hip. More so, that focusing only on the glutes and hip extension can get one into trouble. One needs to also consider hip flexion skill, endurance and strength. The glutes and the hip flexors are a team to help maintain hip stability, mobility, and centration of the opposing joint surfaces during roll and glide motions. This is some of Shirley Sahrman's work, and others of course. When these component parts are not in harmony, and a loading force potentiates the femoral head towards the anterior labrum, it is the job of the glutes and hip flexors, to name two of the big players, to centrate that femoral head and keep it from impinging, and applying a forward load especially when this occurs during end motion loading into hip flexion and extension. I came across an article a while back that suggested these anterior directed movement risks are greater when the limb is loaded from being externally rotated, such as when making a strong power move or "cut" off the stance leg into the contralateral direction (we are looking for that source).
The bottom line is pretty simple, create sufficient stability to endure the loading challenge, but have enough strength and skill to still enable safe mobility. That being said, it is the diagnostics and the remedy that can be the tricky and challenging part of this game.
Anterior hip joint force increases with hip extension, decreased gluteal force, or decreased iliopsoas force. Lewis CL1, Sahrmann SA, Moran DW. J Biomech. 2007;40(16):3725-31. Epub 2007 Aug 17.
"Abnormal or excessive force on the anterior hip joint may cause anterior hip pain, subtle hip instability and a tear of the acetabular labrum.
We found that decreased force contribution from the gluteal muscles during hip extension and the iliopsoas muscle during hip flexion resulted in an increase in the anterior hip joint force. The anterior hip joint force was greater when the hip was in extension than when the hip was in flexion."