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

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
  4723 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

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

Subscribe to Our Blog

Move HEALTHY.               Feel HEALTHY.              Live HEALTHY.