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How Sitting Affects Your Hips – And What You Can Do About It

If you have a sedentary job where you are hunched over your computer for hours on end, you know exactly how stiff your joints and muscles feel when you finally get away from your desk. Depending on the duration of time you have been seated for, you will feel the need to stretch and straighten your stressed muscles.

Most people feel that they can reverse this stiffening by doing stretches regularly. But the fact is that when you sit for extensive hours, you end up doing significant damage to your joints, and this isn’t something you can reverse just by doing a few stretches. However, there are a number of ways in which you can avoid these problems. Let’s take a closer look at how sitting affects your hips and what you can do about it.

About the hip joint

This is a ball & socket joint; the ball fits very snugly into the cup positioned on the pelvis and the surfaces of this joint have a cartilage lining. A very thick capsule and ligaments hold this joint together. The former is filled with a fluid called the synovial fluid which is full of nutrients.

Sitting – the problems it gives rise to

  • When the hip is flexed (as in a seated position) the pressure within the hip joints is at its lowest. The joint is also internally rotated and this makes it very difficult for the joint’s cartilage to extract any of the nutrients from the joint fluid.
  • Because of the lack of movement, the pressure on the joint stays almost constant which hampers the exchange of nutrients even further.
  • In addition, the sitting position can cause excessive pressure in certain sections of the joint and may reduce the flow of joint fluid to that portion of the joint. Keep in mind that the cartilage depends on this fluid for its nutrients requirement. Since the cartilage is starved of nutrients, it becomes more prone to injury.

If you have a sedentary job – here’s how to keep your hips healthy

  • It’s a good idea to invest in a good stand/sit desk. All sitting isn’t bad for your joints and it’s quite a normal activity. The problem arises only when this happens for longer periods of time. It’s a good idea to alternate between standing and sitting on an hourly basis; this can help keep your joints in a better condition.
  • Take regular short walks; you should try to run up a couple of flights of stairs every hour. This helps alter the pressure in the joint and allows for the necessary exchange of nutrients.
  • Swimming and cycling are two activities that create a significant joint movement which helps maintain the health of your cartilage.
  • It’s also important to loosen the muscles that are positioned on your hips. These tend to stiffen when you remain seated for extended periods of time which can restrict the range of motion of your joints; this, in turn, can starve your cartilage of essential nutrients even if you make it a point to stand up regularly.

Consult a physiotherapist

If you feel excessive stiffness in your joints, or if your range of motion has been affected, you should make it a point to consult a good physiotherapist. The expert will conduct a thorough assessment of the joints and muscles and if necessary will create a treatment plan that will help improve these conditions.

We at Insync Physiotherapy have skilled and experienced physiotherapists on board and can provide excellent treatments and care. For any more information on the different types of services we provide, feel free to contact us on (02) 7226 3432. You can also send us your queries via this online form.

Thanks for reading,
Insync Physiotherapy Team
(02) 7226 3432