We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles, namely the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, that attach the upper leg to the hip. These muscles function together to raise the leg toward the stomach. Stretching them requires the opposite movement, which can be quite challenging for the elderly. Restricted movement due to a wheelchair, bed rest, muscular atrophy or injury may also create tightness and decreased range of motion in the hip. Stretching out the hip flexors becomes increasingly important with age.
Prior to engaging in any hip flexor stretches, consider your ability to walk, balance and function. For example, if you are using an ambulatory aid, keep using it for the stretching exercise. Consider also the effects of any medication you may be taking, particularly in relation to blood pressure or balance. Physical therapy in a geriatric population tends to focus on functional goals, by always attempting to maintain or return to activities of daily living. Keeping all of this in mind, check with your doctor before attempting hip flexor stretches.
Aquatic Leg Swings
For the most active individual, who is able to move and balance without assistance, aquatic therapy is a great choice. Nonweight-bearing exercise and hydrotherapy provide effective treatment for arthritis, decreased mobility and stiffness. Swimming will stretch the hip flexors, but for a more specific exercise, leg swings can be used. In waist-high water, align your left side with the edge of the pool. Place your right hand on your right hip and slowly begin to swing the right leg forward and back. When the leg is in the back position, the hip flexors are stretched. Repeat, at your own pace, for one to two minutes.
Standing Leg Extension
Not everyone is able to hop into a pool, so there are other ways to stretch the hip flexors. Individuals who can stand on their own or with the assistance of a walker can safely participate in standing leg extensions. Start by standing upright. Balance yourself against a wall or put the brakes on your ambulatory aid. Shift your weight to your left leg and move your right leg backward. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat five to 10 times with each leg.
Side-Lying Leg Extension
For the least mobile individuals, a hip flexor stretch in side-lying is more appropriate. If you are limited to your bed or restricted to a wheelchair, practice extending your leg from bed daily. Roll onto your left side. If assistance is needed, contact a nurse to help. Slightly bend your left leg for stability. Gradually move your right leg backward, stretching out the front of your thigh. Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds and repeat five to 10 times with each leg.
- Science of Flexibility; Chapter 15: Stretching and Special Populations; Michael J. Alter