Updated: Aug 5, 2019
The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the human body. It is a major weight bearing joint allowing us to walk, run, and jump. The stress placed on the hip when walking can be 5 times your body weight, and when running, up to 10 times. The hip joint is also one of our most flexible joints and allows a greater range of motion than all other joints in the body except for the shoulder. Like the shoulder, the hip is a ball-and-socket joint but is much more stable.
The ball-and-socket structure of the joint allows the femur (thigh bone) to circumduct enabling leg circles in a Pilates class for example.
Changes in the hip from disease or injury will significantly affect the way you walk and place abnormal stress on the joints above and below the hip. It takes great force to seriously damage the hip because of the strong, large muscles of the thighs that support and move the hip. Osteoarthritis affect the hip making it very painful and uncomfortable for many people, osteoporosis is another disease which can affect the hip and can lead to life threatening fractures.
Working the muscles around the hip joint can help us keep the hips strong, supple and flexible. So try these two simple exercises for the hips:
Hip abduction gluteus medius side-lying
Lie on your side, and lift your leg upwards. You can hold this position, or move your leg up and down.
This exercise predominantly strengthens your outer hip and gluteal (buttock) muscles, but also mobilises a stiff hip joint.
Hip Abduction Standing with SupportStand upright with good posture. Hold on to a wall or table for support. Put your weight through one leg and take the other leg out to the side, and back to neutral. Repeat as required. You can also hold the leg out to the side and maintain this position. This exercise predominantly strengthens your outer hip and gluteal (buttock) muscles, but also mobilises a stiff hip joint.