Friday, January 18, 2008

It's All in the Hips

Before I left for the Christmas holidays I was doing battle with some pretty angry shenanigans in my hips/hip flexors. I've had trouble there before, but after a while it eventually passed. With the more rigorous training I've been engaging in since October the pain came back with a vengeance. It pretty well prevented me from being able to get up from a straddle stretch in less than three minutes, impaired my ability to transition stances (say: gongbu-mabu), and pretty much made sweeping a worse challenge than usual. After two weeks off at Christmas, I came back to a rested, un-sore body which included happy hips, hooray! But since we've been training in Austria the devil, crunchy, cracking pains are back. And now they even hurt during ceshoufans, and we know I didn't need anything making those worse. So now what?!?

I feel like my hip problems sound like most other people's knee problems. I'm never had a bit of pain in my knees (knock on wood) but my hip joints have been a concern nearly from day one. I am thinking maybe it's a genetic predisposition as my sister also had to quit running because her hips gave her so much trouble and the doctor told her they couldn't handle the impact. But then, I have done many other sports, one of which was volleyball and if that doesn't impact your joints I don't know what will. Either way, am I doomed to be locked in an eternal battle with this part of my body? Am I never going to be good at latin dancing? Should I pop a certain painkiller? Stretch a different way? Go get acupuncture? Or is it too late and I should just cut off my legs at the hip? That's going to make bringing back mad Austrian skills rather difficult.......


  1. It's not clear whether you have tight hips or if you hips hurt. Which one is it? If your hips hurt, you might need to take some rest before training again. You also want to strengthen and stretch the hips together. If you just stretch them without strengthening them you will find your hips are very lose and more vulnerable to injury. I found that if you straddle stretch while standing so you dont put your hands on the ground you can stretch and strengthen.

    But sometimes its not all flexibiliy in your hips that help your stances. Ankle flexibility is also important. But I wouldn't know unless I saw you do it to tell you what you could do. It would probably help when bloggers ask for advice to put a picture or something. Otherwise its hard to figure out how to fix the problems without seeing it. Just my thought...

  2. My hips are not tight, they hurt. Well, they are sometimes tight too, but in general I am pretty flexible. It's more that trying to re align my legs after a stretch straddle, wall or otherwise, can be extra painful. As can transferring from a pubu to a gongbu, or some such thing. It's as though I have to pause, and crack my leg back into place.

    I think you are not ill founded in suspecting it's a strength thing; I have had the same suspicion for some time ever since I first learned the sweep. However, it seems ludicrous to me that they are simply THAT weak as I am fairly strong for a girl. I am taking today as well as yesterday off from training to rest and stretch. And I am definitely going to start doing more varied hip-strengthening exercises. Sadly, I don't have pictures of myself doing kf. I was more wondering if anyone had any ideas for hip strengthening than an actual diagnosis. I like the idea for the straddle, I'm going to try it. Thanks!

  3. I had hip pain for a while. My chiro (who was awesome) told me to stretch them and fix the muscle imbalance I had. The stretch was like gongbu except you bend your back knee and let the heel come off the floor. The strength training was climbing stairs. Lucky for me, I lived on the 11th floor at the time, so I just skipped the elevator when coming home. Fixed me right up!

  4. No cookies in the hips,
    only chocolate chips!