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
  3701 Hits
Dr. Keith Sparks

Foam Rolling Friday: Glute Medius & Minimus

Foam Rolling Friday: Glute Medius & Minimus

Glute Medius Minimus Referral Pattern

Improper hip motion is oftentimes a culprit to low back pain and knee pain. Interestingly, the area where we experience pain is regularly not the source of pain. When the glute medius and glute minimus become problematic they can refer pain down the leg (mimicking a disc herniation), and to the SI joint. These muscles become dysfunctional due to lack of use. Stating this, you would think working on activating these muscles alone would be sufficient, but recent research indicates that combining soft tissue therapy with rehab/exercise training, adds greater benefit then either alone.¹

Continue reading
  8989 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

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

Subscribe to Our Blog

Move HEALTHY.               Feel HEALTHY.              Live HEALTHY.