Poor Hip Core

john-miller-physio zoe-russell-physiotherapist

Article by J. MillerZ. Russell

What do you mean by “Hip Core”?

While most people now understand the importance of good core muscle control to fix back pain and improve sporting performance, it has not yet transferred to regions other than your back. This article will focus on the importance of your “hip core” in the prevention or resolution of hip and groin pain.

What’s Your “Hip Core”?


You probably won’t find too many articles referring to your hip core as yet. It is known in the medical world as your “deep hip stabilisers”, and hasn’t been around long enough to be given a major PR overhaul.

However, your “hip core” does exist and is very important for controlling your hip, pelvis and upper leg, especially during one leg stance, walking, running, jumping and kicking. Which, when you think about it, affects all of us every day!

What Happens?

Just like most people have trouble ‘switching on’ their abdominal core muscles due to previous back pain, pregnancy, post-childbirth or sports injuries, the same applies to the deep hip muscles.

These deeper muscles tend to ‘turn off’ to a degree because of the pain or injury and usually struggle to properly ‘turn back on’ for a long period of time. This leads to ongoing pain or other problems developing throughout your hip and leg.

As a result, your body compensates by: 

  • increasing the workload of the larger hip and buttock muscles causing muscle fatigue, knots and tightness.
  • causing you to adopt a poor pelvic and lower back joint posture due to weakness.

Ultimately this means that other back and hip muscles tend to tighten up to try and stabilise your wobbly hip. This leads to secondary injuries.

Unfortunately, the long-term results can include a collapsing hip during walking or a run, and an increased likelihood of joint stress and damage predisposing you to premature degenerative arthritis and pain, not only in your hip but in your knee, back or ankle as well!

Problems with Hip Core Retraining

Other than not having a trendy name yet, the hip core can be successfully retrained but it is more difficult to identify which muscles they are. Plus, you will have variable hip core ability on your left compared to your right.

Just like with lower back core exercises it is important not to progress too quickly. If you overload the muscle it will simply stop working or lose control, leading to increased chance of injury.

What to Do?

If you have suffered hip or groin pain that continues to niggle, it may well be due to a “poor hip core”. Your doctor may have diagnosed you as having trochanteric bursitis, which is a secondary injury caused by hip instability. While an injection may help ease the short-term symptoms, they tend to recur because your “hip core” responds to corrective exercises - not injection!

If this is the case, then please contact us to have your hip core assessed. Your physio can do a full hip and pelvis assessment and start you on remedial treatment straight away.

PhysioWorks has designed a corrective “hip core correction” program to help you overcome hip and groin pain quickly. Plus, for those who have difficulty feeling your correct muscles working, we can use an ultrasound scanner to visually help you find your hip core and see them in action.

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Common Hip Pain Treatment Options

Hip Pain Products Available

Hip Injuries

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Hip Related Conditions

General Information

Hip Joint Pain

Lateral Hip Pain

Adductor-related Groin Pain

Pubic-related Groin Pain

Inguinal-related Groin Pain

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Sportsman's hernia

Iliopsoas-related Groin Pain

  • Hip Flexor Strain

Other Muscle-related Pain

Systemic Diseases

Referred Sources

Hip Surgery

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    Last updated 14-Feb-2019 10:49 AM

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