Luckily, regardless of whether your hip flexor pain sitting is actually your hip flexors or your hip joint, the same sort of strategies will help to reduce pain in both.
Here are some great strategies for reducing hip flexor pain in sitting (and joint pain):
1. Sit back in your chair, use your chairback, and relax your hip flexors,
2. Reduce the amount of hip flexion in sitting, and
3. Spend less time sitting.
A great way to reduce tension in the iliopsoas muscles and back muscles is to make a point of moving your bottom to the back of the chair each time you sit down, relaxing onto the chair back. Avoid perching and leaning forward towards your desk. If your chair arms are stopping you from getting your chair under the table – remove them!
If you still have pain, you might need to open up those hips a little more. One simple strategy for reducing your front-of-hip pain sitting is to sit with your hips slightly higher than your knees. A posture wedge is a cheap, portable way to do this easily on all chairs you use, including when driving or travelling. Check out more about the wedge cushion by clicking HERE
Squatting requires the hip to bend (hip flexion). Squatting lower requires a deeper hip bend at the bottom of your squat. Deep hip flexion can result in pain related to the hip flexors or the underlying joint.
It is possible that deep hip flexion may result in physical compression of irritable hip flexors at the front of the hip, but these muscles have also been shown to be working hard at the bottom of a squat.2
Why are the hip flexors working in a deep squat? This is a movement that the large gluteal and quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh create and control. The hip flexors might be working to keep the body close to the thigh, helping to keep the hip bent at the bottom of the squat.
Researchers have also suggested that the deepest hip flexor muscles that join onto the hip capsule may have a special role here.2 In deep hip flexion, these muscles may provide support for the joint and help keep the capsule on tension as it becomes slack in a squat position. This will ensure the joint capsule does not get pinched in the front of the joint in a deep squat.
This blog was written by Dr Alison Grimaldi and Kirsty McNab, physiotherapists who have over 50 years of combined professional clinical experience, dealing with patients suffering from a wide range of hip and pelvic conditions.
Dr. Alison Grimaldi BPhty, MPhty(Sports), PhD is Practice Principal of Physiotec Physiotherapy, an Australian Sports Physiotherapist and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, author and global educator.
Kirsty McNab BSc Hons, MPhty(Sports), is Practice Principal of Physiologix and a highly experienced Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist having worked extensively with elite athletes, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, and Tennis Australia.
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