This weekend’s challenge is a low-impact, highly effective move that increases hip mobility and strengthens the hips, glutes, and thighs. Additionally, this exercise prevents and reverses a painful condition known as trochanteric bursitis, an inflammation of the outer bursa in the hip.
The Hip Mobility Improver Plus also stimulates new bone growth in the ever-important pelvis, helping to prevent hip fractures. And it does this by targeting an often-overlooked muscle: the gluteus medius.
Let’s get started!
If you’re a regular reader and a part of the Saver community, then you know how frequently we refer to the “glutes.” When most people think of these important buttocks muscles, they think of the gluteus maximus (the most obvious and largest of the glutes). While this is certainly a key muscle to strengthen, the gluteus medius is no less important.
This gluteus medius is one of three muscles that make up the gluteal muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. The gluteus medius is a relatively large muscle that lies on the exterior part of the pelvis, connecting the outside of the ilium (that’s the large, wing-shaped hip bone) and the greater trochanter, which is the top of the femur bone.
Because of its location, the gluteus medius’ insertion point is cushioned by a bursa at the top of the femur known as the trochanteric bursa. Bursae are small sacs filled with a gelatinous substance, found in joints throughout the body. They act as a friction-reducer in joints, cushioning the contact point between bone and soft tissue.
When the outer membrane of the bursa becomes inflamed for various reasons (discussed below), the bursa produces more of the viscous inner fluid, causing swelling and tenderness.
If you’ve ever experienced the pain and discomfort of trochanteric bursitis, then you know exactly where this bursa is located! These bursae become inflamed due to various factors, such as:
- Injury from falling, blunt impact, immobility (as when lying on one side for an extended period), and so forth.
- Repetitive stress from overuse, such as excessive standing without an exercise break, going up and down stairs frequently, etc.
- Some disorders of the spine can cause trochanteric bursitis, such as scoliosis.
- Osteoarthritis in the low back (lumbar vertebrae) and rheumatoid arthritis can also aggravate the trochanteric bursa.
- Calcium deposits and bony growths (such as spurs) can develop in the connecting tendons, thus irritating the bursa as the tendon glides over the trochanter.
- If one leg is longer than the other, it places unequal stress on the hip joint, potentially aggravating the bursa.
- Hip surgery – including hip replacement – can set the stage for trochanteric bursitis by irritating the area.
- Infection can also cause painful inflammation of the bursa.
Typically, trochanteric bursitis symptoms include sharp pain at the top of the femur, often extending down the outer thigh. As time goes by, the pain may become worse and cover a larger area. Lying down on the affected side worsens the pain, as does getting up after sitting for a long time.
The good news is that low-impact exercises like the Hip Mobility Improver Plus target this exact area by working the gluteus medius, thus relieving and preventing this painful condition. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on your side on an exercise mat or similarly cushioned surface.
- Bend your knees at an approximate 45-degree angle; your knees should be atop one another.
- Turn your hips so they are “closed” – meaning tilted slightly toward the floor and facing slightly downwards as opposed to “open” hips that are flattened and spread out laterally. This position is very important for stimulating the gluteus medius.
- Place your hand on your hip to make sure the angle stays closed, and engage your glutes to lift your knee as you exhale. Your foot does not need to come up with your knee; your feet can stay together.
- Lift your knee as far as is comfortable without changing the closed position of your hips. Your abdominal muscles should also be engaged and holding your torso in position.
- Inhale as you bring your knee back down.
- Repeat the knee lifts 10 to 15 times or as many as you’re comfortable doing. Then switch sides for another set of 10 to 15.
Try following up with these other challenges that work the pelvis:
This weekend’s exercise (as well as the other challenges listed above) are fantastic for strengthening the hips and increasing mobility, key elements in fracture prevention. Have you ever had a doctor try to scare you into taking osteoporosis drugs by telling you you’ll break your hip in the future if you don’t take them?
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
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There’s no need to succumb to fear. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program’s pH-balanced nutrition, which includes lots of anti-inflammatory foods, combined with targeted exercise such as the moves in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is the optimal “prescription” for preventing fractures.
Have a great weekend!