Recently we asked our facebook friends what they’d like to know more about from our Physio’s. One friend asked for information regarding stretching and strengthening of the Psoas muscle (pronounced Sow-us).
So let’s start off by talking about where the Psoas muscle is and what it does. The Psoasmuscle group is one of your major hip flexors, and is divided into two parts – the Psoas Major (in purple) and the Psoas Minor (in yellow). Psoas Major attaches to each of the 5 vertebrae in your lower back then travels down and attaches itself to your femur bone (thigh bone) just below the hip joint. Along the way, Psoas blends together with another muscle called Iliacus (in red) and forms the muscle group known as Iliopsoas. The main role of the iliopsoas is to move your hip into flexion – bending your hip up. If you are currently sitting down, you can activate your iliopsoas by lifting the back of your knee of your seat. Although you need a lot of hip flexion with walking and running, your iliopsoas only has a minor role during these times as a lot of this hip movement is created by momentum. Your iliopsoas however does play an important part in providing stability during walking and running activities. Because it has attachments to your lower back it can stabilise these segments of your spine. However as good as this muscle can be at helping you during running, it can cause a lot of problems once it gets tight because it attaches to your back – it can put a lot of tension on your spine when it is tight. The muscle can get tight due to prolonged sitting (eg desk workers), excessive running/training or due to your lower back posture. This can cause lower back, hip or groin pain during running or walking activities.
Standing Hip Flexion: Start in standing with your one leg slightly behind you and a theraband or pulley around your ankle while the other point fixed behind you. Lift your leg up so that your hip and knee are bent to 90°, then lower back down. Keep your hips level throughout the movement.
Strengthening your Psoas muscle is not always necessary, as it isn’t a muscle that requires large amounts of power during day-to-day activities. However if you are feeling like you are lacking power during kicking or other activities then some of these exercises might be helpful.
If you are experiencing pain or problems at the front of your hip, groin or your lower back then seek the advice of one of our Physiotherapists at Enhance Physiotherapy. They will be able to advise you which type of exercises you need to do to minimise your pain and optimise your performance.