Our Chiropractic Clinic Blog

Interested in reducing pain and improving fitness? Our chiropractors give tips on building a healthier lifestyle through chiropractic care, nutrition, and more!
Dr. Keith Sparks

Foam Rolling Friday: Hip Flexors

Foam Rolling Friday: Hip Flexors

rectus femoris referral pattern
Iliopsoas Referral Pattern
Hip extension is an important component for creating a tall and healthy physique. When the hip flexors become tight, due to overuse or lack of use, they prevent healthy hip extension. Healthy hip extension enables the body to generate more forward or upward momentum by driving the foot and leg into the ground, or backwards. Keeping the hip flexors supple is vital for musculoskeletal health in the lower back, hip, and knee regions.

The Functional Anatomy: Hip Flexors 

When discussing the hip flexors, many individuals think of the iliopsoas complex. This is great, but severely lacking a well-rounded view of the hip flexors as a collective unit. The psoas gets blamed for a lot of issues; sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly. Remember, the body is an intricate system and blaming a single muscle or viewing a problem as caused by a single muscle will leave you lost and frustrated with results.  
The hip flexors collectively consist of several muscles when analyzed in a basic standing position, including: Psoas major, Psoas minor, Sartorius, Iliacus, Rectus Femoris, TFL (Tensor fascia lata), Pectineus, Adductor longus, Adductor brevis, and Gracilis. You might recognize the last few muscles from last week's blog. Functionally, when discussing the process of hip flexion, there are other muscles that help drive hip flexion, including: the Gluteus Medius & Minimus, and the Gastroc / Soleus Complex. 
When any one of these muscles above are lacking in performance, it requires other muscles to compensate to create the desired task (i.e. hip flexion). If left unaddressed, the brain will lay down trigger points in an attempt to improve an improper system. A few of the referral patterns are shown below. The first picture on the left highlights the rectus femoris referral pattern, while the picture on the right highlights the iliopsoas refferal pattern. These charts help visualize why treating local to pain does not always result in improvement; often times the problem is somewhere else. 

The Why: Hip Flexors  

Foam rolling the hip flexors is an easy way to work on the anterior hip compartment, improving pain and performance within the lower back, hip, and knee regions. This area becomes a dense network of adhesions, from prolonged sitting and lack of hip activity in general, pushing the femur head forward in the hip socket.  
Addressing these trigger points via foam rolling can help awaken the brain awareness to these areas reducing pain, improving range of motion (ROM), and performance. If you are experiencing lower back pain, hip pain, or knee pain, it is important to understand that there will never be normal joint function within these areas if there are myofascial dysfunctions surrounding the hip.¹ Normal joint function and normal muscle length/flexibility have to go hand-in-hand. One cannot exist without the other. And this is why you should foam roll the anterior hip.  


Ferguson LW, Gerwin R. Clinical Mastery in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2005.
Continue reading
  3463 Hits

Have a Question?

Do you have a question about chiropractic care, fitness or nutrition?  We would love to hear from you, and we might even turn your question into our next blog post!

Ask a Question

Blog Topics

physical therapy knee pain Adductors GoTime Exercise Elbow Pain disc herniation tummytime #HipPain rhomboid muscles Myths crawling healthcare Yoga Physical Therapy chiropractic PlantarFasciitis BeginningExercise knee joint postpartum crossfit #hipstrength Rehabilitation Membership Plan WestWichitaChiropractor 2018 Taping Movement SportsRehab DNS Accupuncture Sprinting Disc Herniation knee function Hip Flexors ICTrunning Pain Breathing HamstringStrain functional chiropractor Mid-Back Pain #somethingsbrewingict ChiropracticOffice Grand Opening ICT bodyawareness knee health pain management chiropractors Inner Thigh GroupTraining running health toe functionality Health Strain entrepreneur mechanics stress seminar Insurance foot pain Pectoralis Muscles Sitting Help Chiropractic Treatment Options #FootPain test Healing Information Shoes movement screen Tension guest blog parenting Body Awareness Lumbar Roll #1millioncupsict wichita Neurology gaming Dry Needling FootExercise dairy free mental health Understanding Pain Mobility Drill Running Fitness Class home stretches Stop Light doula Rolling Patterns #Wichita plantar fasciitis treatment options Company Announcements SportsInjury Shoulder Pain Cupping Therapy #freemuscletherapy Education RunningShoes Rhomboid Muscles membership plan rehabilitation chiropractor #localbusiness elbow pain Wichita #localfarmers kansas allergies culture squats Foot Pain Acupuncture Compression Sleeves WestWichita Functional Core WichitaChiropractor 1MillionCups lifting tag2 #races pregnancy motorpatterns #wholefoods Conditioning Pain Management Payment #KneePain Foam Rolling Soft Tissue Therapy Squats WSU Wet Needling #Running Performance performance bodyweight race Lifting Heel Pain Squat #deepsquat Self Help ShoeShopping SportsChiropractor DryNeedling #RunningPain sports 5K BackPain stability #growingwichita #bellybreathing Adjustment Massage Healthcare sara skiles Crossfit development Recovery squat Mobility Plateau Mechanics Shoulder Headaches Sitting Posture Feet patriotic Fitness conditioning myths sport injuries weekend Low Back Pain Nerve Pain Glute Muscles Handout ChiropracticPhysician Myofascial Release Top 5 Home Stretches Seek Chiropractor Latissimus Dorsi Cost rollingpatterns Equipment FAQ Gym MRI adjustment FoamRollingFriday foot complaint community Limitation Conservative Care orthotics Toe esports awareness inflammation Orthotics childbearing How to reduce pain Core Strength muscletherapy Inflammation

Subscribe to Our Blog

Move HEALTHY.               Feel HEALTHY.              Live HEALTHY.