Both hip flexion (knee lifts up) and hip extension (knee trailing behind) are needed in running gait. In this blog, we are pointing to the importance of hip extension and how runners can improve it with Massage Therapy.
Hip extension happens when the foot moves from stance phase (when the foot is in contact with the ground, bearing weight) to toe off (when the toes rise off the ground) in the running gait. As the pelvis moves forward and the leg trails behind, it creates a lengthening at the front of the hip. Hip extension allows the runner to engage muscles at the back of the hip, including the glutes, which in turn, provide runners with much needed power that the hip flexors and quadriceps alone cannot provide.
Oftentimes, runners lack hip extension. The anterior hip or thigh is a complex area that connects from the front of the hip down to the top of the knee (anterior means towards the front of the body; posterior means towards the back of the body). It consists of multiple layers of muscles, fascia, and connective tissue that all can be overworked and become ‘tight’.
Massage therapy utilizes a number of techniques to hydrate connective tissues, improve blood flow, relax and lengthen muscles, as well as increase the slide and glide between all of the layers of tissue. When the massage therapist moves slower, deeper layers are reached and the results are more effective. Using these techniques on the hip flexors may help to decrease ‘tight’ anterior hip muscles and connective tissues thus helping improve hip extension in running gait.
Massage therapy is an important part of connective tissue and muscle hygiene, especially if you are an athletic individual. Improve your running gait and release tension by booking online for massage therapy with Amanda Kerpius!