Why Hip Pain is not coming from the Hip  - Legacy Physical Therapy

Why Hip Pain is not coming from the Hip 

We have recently had a couple of patient’s come in complaining about hip pain especially with running or HIIT workouts. They describe the pain as deep in the front of the hip and wrapping around to the buttocks. They reported trying
  • stretching
  • strengthening exercises
  • foam rolling
  • working with chiropractors and other physical therapists
Despite all this, their symptoms have not gotten better. Thankfully, they ended up here at Legacy Physical Therapy. What we want to highlight today is a common culprit of hip pain that is oftentimes missed. It’s a muscle called the obturator Internus. It is part of a complex of muscles that helps rotate the leg out to the side. The rest of the muscles that do this action are located on the back side of the buttock area, this is the only muscle that dives forward on the inside part of the pelvis. This can put extra strain or stress on the muscle. This muscle is often missed because of its location and how it moves. The obturator internus muscle can frequently get strained into a lengthened or “long” position. This is because of how often people, especially women, tend to sit in a position with their legs crossed or wrapped around each other. The pain may not be focal to the pelvic area, it actually may present closer to the hip socket, so that’s why it often gets confused with hip pain. A test to see if this muscle is a culprit is:
  • when you stand up from a chair, do your knees knock together
  • when you are doing a squat do your knees dive in together.
These are both signs that your obturator internus muscle is not functioning optimally, it could also mean that some other muscles may have some strength issues going on.

When the obturator internus muscle is lengthened, strained or weak, this can lead to dysfunction over time presenting in the form of hip pain. It can also show up in the form of:

  • pain with sex
  • buttock pain
  • pain that goes into the abdominal wall or vaginal canal . 

The best way to assess if there is an issue going on with this muscle is by partnering with a pelvic physical therapist because we have the training to assess the muscles internally through the vaginal canal, because this is where the majority of muscle is located. This is also why it’s often missed with other treatments that may have tried. 

If you are dealing with hip pain, and tried the “normal” route of treatment and you haven’t been getting better, you may be missing out on this major component contributing to your symptoms. Give us a call to schedule a discovery visit to dive into your symptoms better and see if we can help you be pain free!

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Brooke Kalisiak

Legacy Physical Therapy

"We help women who are tired of leaking, dealing with pelvic pain, and wanting to get their body back in shape after baby (even if it’s been 30 years) all without relying on medications or surgery."
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