Tips for Healthy Hips – ThedaCare
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of Americans home from the office to work remotely to limit the spread of the virus. Now, two years later, many of those workers continue to work from home by choice. An unintended consequence of this trend is an increase in hip-related conditions.
“There are a number of reasons why our hips can get sore when we sit a lot,” said Justin Guzman, PA-C, Certified Physician Assistant at ThedaCare Orthopedic Care. “Our bodies were not made to stay in a repetitive position; they were made to move and change position. When we don’t move, our muscles and joints become tight and sore, and bursitis and arthritis pain can result.
Guzman explained what could cause hip problems.
“Sitting in a flexed hip position for long periods of time causes our hip flexors, which run along the upper part of our thigh in the pelvic region, to become short and tight,” he said. . “Then our back muscles – our glutes – get long and weak because we don’t really use them. The result is that we end up feeling super tight in the front and a bit weak in the back.
And that’s when someone might notice some pain.
“When our flexors are tight and our glutes are weak and we start doing fun activities that we enjoy, those muscle groups can’t keep up,” Guzman said. “Then we end up with hip bursitis or gluteal tendonitis which causes hip pain.”
Arthritis can be another source of hip pain. Guzman noted that arthritis causes deep pain in the groin and tends to make people feel stiff after sitting for long periods. Then, if they try to do a lot of activity, the pain can increase significantly.
In most cases of hip pain, movement is medicine, especially for arthritis issues and tight muscles.
“The movement helps get blood flowing to the muscles and increases joint fluid,” Guzman said. “When we move, our synovial capsules release fluid into our joints, which lubricates them and acts as a shock absorber. It is therefore important that people sitting at a desk get up and move often. Take a break every 20 minutes or so and move on. When you’re on the phone, get up and move around, or drink lots of water so you have to go to the bathroom.
Guzman said it’s also important for people who work from home to have a good ergonomic chair.
“A good office chair is essential because positioning is important,” he said. “Your chair should provide good lumbar support to keep your spine and pelvis in a neutral position. Your hips should be bent at a 90 degree angle so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the floor. your shoulders should be relaxed and in a neutral position The ergonomics of your entire desk, including the position of your screen, keyboard and mouse, are important so that you do not create pressure from the neck down through the spine and not to force your core or gluteal muscles into awkward holding positions that put pressure on the hip joint.
Guzman said sit-stand desks or standing desks are good options from a hip, back and core strength perspective.
Exercising regularly will also help prevent arthritis and muscle pain. Guzman said stretching where you’re tight and strengthening where you’re weak can help. He recommended hip flexor stretches, including standing lunge stretches, knee lunges and deadlifts, as good ways to release tight muscles. To strengthen the glute muscles, Guzman suggested a clamshell exercise.
“Put a therapy band around your knees and pull your knees apart, then slowly bring them together, using the resistance of the band,” he says. “Do 20 reps to fatigue. Three sets of 20 reps to fatigue every other day would be a good dose of strengthening. The beauty of this exercise is that it’s something you can do right at your desk.
He added that lifts, planks and side planks are more advanced exercises for strengthening core and glute muscles.
“What’s important is to start slow and pile on days of success in a row, then try to make more of a point of strength and endurance today than yesterday, interspersed with ‘a day off,’ he said. “That’s how you want to develop from a strength and endurance perspective.”
Guzman also recommended a number of low-impact aerobic activities as other exercise options. Walking, walking on an elliptical trainer, cycling and swimming are good for your joints from the point of view of arthritis or tendonitis. A person will exercise, but not add violent impact forces through the joints.
It is important to pay attention to hip and joint pain.
“Prevention and treatment go hand in hand,” Guzman said. “Failing to treat hip pain can lead to progressive weakening of the hips that develops into tendonitis and bursitis. The longer things are inflamed, the harder they are to heal. It takes six to eight weeks to strengthen muscles, and it is difficult to strengthen them once they are inflamed and sore. If we stay on top of our strength and flexibility, we can help prevent hip problems.