Why Tight Hips Lead To Knee Pain In Jiu-Jitsu…And Keeps You From Rolling!


Why Tight Hips Lead To Knee Pain in Jiu Jitsu…

Tight Hips Lead To Knee Pain

Now, it’s probably not hard to fathom the idea that an issue with the hip could address or cause a problem down at the knee, but I want to explain it a little bit more.  I can assure you that tight hips lead to knee pain.

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So, over the past weekend, we had a workshop where we talked about performance in Jui-Jitsu. One of the major aspects within that workshop was how important mobility is. We had a large group of people that there and what we found out was that, “All of these people love training most of them had some kind of strength regimen. But what they lacked was a mobility program.”

Now that mobility in your hip, if you have any limitation, it will present with problems either up-the-chain or down-the-chain. Up would be into your SI joint or into your low back. Down is going to be down into the knee itself. So, as somebody who trains, maybe even somebody who has a sedentary type job, or a job that’s not quite as physically demanding, you will likely develop restrictions or limitations within your joints.

Use It Or Lose It

Now, I live by the saying, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Once you gain mobility it’s much easier to keep it than to try to gain it. And I think a lot of people tend to shy away from mobility because it’s often seen as being maybe not as important or even it’s boring. There’s different things that you can do to help address mobility and realize that it’s not just stretching, but actually taking your body through movement patterns to try to develop motion in those joints.

Now, in the context of knee injuries, I want you to think about, and this may be you, somebody who maybe didn’t have a trauma. What I mean, someone in Jiu-Jitsu didn’t have a kneebar, maybe somebody jumped guard on you, or somehow you tweaked your knee training.

This type of problem I’m talking about is what we call insidious, something that develops with no known cause, maybe develops over time. That’s the key element. It develops over time. What we often find out is these problems start small and then build into something bigger. So, initially, it may not affect the training. Most people because there’s not a whole lot of pain, go, “Mmmh, not a big deal.” So they tend to ignore it hoping it will just go away.

Hip Mobility Is Key

So, let’s talk hip mobility. First thing you can do is look at your ability to rotate. If you lay on your back and you bring your knee up to 90 degrees you can look at how much motion do you have. You can turn your ankle toward you when your leg is up, then turn your ankle inward, and what you find, is that you should have about 45 degrees of total motion to either direction. But what ends up happening is most people tend to get limited, and so they end up with a loss in motion particularly with rotation inward. And in Jui-Jitsu both internal and external are extremely important particularly to defend the guard. Now, if you play particular guard like De la Riva or you play Lasso, even some bits of Spider Guard, these tend to put what we call, low load long duration stress on to your ligaments, which affects your knee.

What happens over time, those ligaments stretch out. And now it’s not something again that develops in one day. This is something that develops after months and months, even years and years of training. So your ligaments become a little bit more mobile than what they were previously. Now it doesn’t necessarily pose a problem, so long as you can control that motion. So, as far as the ways to go about mobilizing your hip, there’s lots of strategies that are out there, so I’m not going to discuss that in the context of today’s video. But hip mobility is extremely important.

Two More Hip Tips

I’m going to give you two more tips that I think are really important to help all my friends out there that train Jui-Jitsu. Number one seems kind of obvious, but make sure that you’re careful who you train with. I’m always very careful of the big brawny white belts that come in, because they have maybe a certain level of machismo, maybe they are trying to prove something. What they lack in technical skill, they often try to make up in strength.

So, make sure you are careful about who train with and don’t feel bad. Hey, you got a problem if I don’t want train with you then it’s okay, wait for the next round, find somebody else. So, that seems pretty obvious, but you will be surprised how many people will not use that as a strategy.

The last one I want to give you is make sure when you do train that you disclose to your training partner what problems you have. That way at least they are familiar, and they can avoid trying to stress the part of your body that needs to heal. I’m a big proponent, if you can train go train, I think that’s important but you also need to set sometime aside to address your specific problem. The best way to go about addressing that quickly is to go see a professional. They will be able to figure out what the problem is and the best strategy to address it, and they will generally give you a pretty accurate time frame…especially if you’re seeing a movement specialist, like a sports PT.

Closing Remarks

So, if you’d like to find out more information, go check on the website at level4pt.com. For all of my Jui-Jitsu friends and people out there looking for some information, you can download, our tips report. It’s at www.level4pt.com/jiu-jitsu we got a tips report.. And hopefully, you’ll be able to use that to keep yourself training for a lifetime. So, hope that information is helpful to you, have a great day and enjoy. I hope to see you on the mats.Tight Hips Lead To Knee Pain

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Chris Ingstad, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, ATC, FAAOMPT

Performance Physical Therapist at Level4 Physio-Wellness-Performance
Dr. Chris Ingstad is a nationally-known Physical Therapist and Co-Founder of Level4 Physio-Wellness-Performance, San Diego’s Leading Specialist Private Physical Therapy and Human Performance Practice for People in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond, who value their health and want to remain active.

You might know Dr. Chris as a National Conference presenter on various rehabilitation topics, including on treating people with shoulder, neck and low back injuries. He also teaches at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in the Musculoskeletal track, where he brings clinical practice into the classroom for future physical therapists. He also is published in Jiu Jitsu Magazine and Coastal Newspaper on various areas, including low back and neck and shoulder injuries.

Dr. Chris’ background included working extensively with athletes with shoulder, knee and low back injuries, taking them from post-injury or post-operative to return to sport. He prides himself on the ability to get positive outcomes, even with difficult cases. Level4 Physio-Wellness-Performance is now a large multi-physical therapist specialty practice in Encinitas, CA. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, golfing, hiking/camping, and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Chris Ingstad, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, ATC, FAAOMPT

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