The hip is comprised of three bones: the ilium, ischium and the sacrum. These bones fuse together to provide support of the trunk and allow for normal fluid movement of the body. The sacrum and the ilium, however, form a joint, an area that connects bones together which allows for movement. When a hip misalignment is present it can restrict proper movement and create pain issues and dysfunction.
A hip misalignment can be caused by some injuries, such as a fall or awkward movements, especially with rotational forces or twisting. Abnormalities in the musculature, ligaments and tendons surrounding and supporting the hip caused by tightness, spasms or weakness can also contribute to a misalignment by pulling the hip bone out of its natural position. Arthritis or degenerative changes to the joint are exacerbated by inflammation and pain, in addition to causing possible structural changes that can affect the hip’s positioning and functioning.
Since the hip acts as a trunk stabilizer at the point where the upper body attaches to the lower body, a hip misalignment can affect other parts of the body with pain and movement problems. When the hip is stuck or out of position, it can cause a chronic tightness in the hamstrings, the muscles that run through the back of the leg, connecting the upper leg to the lower leg. Pain and dysfunction may also radiate up into the low back area.
When the body experiences a misalignment of the hip and is not properly supported, pain, weakness and tightness can travel through the hip and pelvis area and into the legs. This can create torsion or twisting of the knee during walking to compensate for postural changes that can radiate into the foot, causing it to rotate inwardly or outwardly. This can affect the gait sequence, weight bearing and balance. It can also trigger pain in the lower leg and foot.
The most important treatment for a misaligned hip is prevention through routine stretching and strengthening of the hips, legs and back. However, once a hip misalignment is present, it is important to release the tension or spasms in the muscles, tendons and ligaments involved. It may also be necessary to coax the hip bone back into place through manipulation, also referred to as a chiropractic adjustment. Once appropriate hip position is attained, a comprehensive stretching and exercise program will help stabilize the area to prevent further problems.