Deep Hip Rotators

Deep Hip Rotator Muscles Stability

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Hip Deep Rotator Stability:

Understanding and Strengthening Your Hip Rotator Muscles

Your deep hip rotator muscles are essential for movement and stability in your hips, pelvis, and upper leg. However, many people are unaware of the presence of a deep rotator cuff in the hip, similar to the one found in the shoulder.

The deep hip rotator cuff is responsible for controlling your movements during one-leg stance, walking, running, jumping, and kicking. Without strong deep hip rotators, you may experience discomfort, pain, or even injury.

While the gluteal muscles are well-known for their role in hip movement and stability, they are only the superficial muscles involved. The gluteus maximus, the largest and most superficial of the gluteal muscles, is not very effective at hip rotation. The gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, located deeper in the buttock, provide more powerful rotation.

However, the six deepest muscles, which are small but essential for hip rotation control, are often overlooked. These muscles include the piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, obturator externus, and quadratus femoris.

Strengthening these deep hip core muscles through targeted exercises can improve your hip stability, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance your athletic performance.

What Happens During Hip Injury?

Hip injuries from various causes turn off deep hip rotator muscles causing ongoing pain. These muscles control hip, pelvis, and upper leg during movement. Inability to “turn back on” leads to compensation from other muscles, fatigue, knots, and tightness. Tightening of other muscles can cause a collapsing hip, joint stress, and premature degenerative arthritis. Identifying and treating injuries promptly is crucial to prevent long-term complications.

Problems With Hip Deep Rotator Muscle Retraining

Retraining the hip core muscles can be successful, but it can also present some challenges. One of the main issues is identifying which muscles need to be trained. Real-time ultrasound retraining can help visualise the activation pattern of the deep hip core muscles and improve the effectiveness of the training.

It’s important to progress slowly when performing core exercises for the hip. Overloading the muscle can lead to loss of control and an increased risk of injury.

What Can You Do?

If you’re experiencing ongoing hip or groin pain, it may be due to weakness in your hip rotator muscles. Your physiotherapist or doctor may have diagnosed you with trochanteric bursitis or Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS), which is usually caused by dynamic hip instability. While bursa injections can help ease the symptoms in the short-term, the most effective long-term way to manage this condition is through corrective exercises that strengthen the hip deep core muscles.

If you’re struggling with hip and groin pain, it’s beneficial to seek help from a hip physiotherapist. They can assess your hip and pelvis and create a personalised “hip core stability” program to help alleviate your symptoms quickly.

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