The Importance of Hip Mobility

by Dr. John Kuruc

Anatomically, our hip joint is classified as a “ball-in-socket” joint which allows it to have incredible amounts of motion. Our hip joints are the second most mobile joint in the body, only behind the shoulder joint. It’s incredibly important to have proper hip mobility because a lack of mobility can lead to knee and lower back pain. Let me explain.

As stated above, our hip joints are mobile joints, meaning they have excessive range of motion in three planes while our knee and lower back are stable joints meaning they generally have range of motion in one plane. Our knee and lower back loves to flex and extend. That is their primary range of motion. Yes, they can rotate and laterally bend but those ranges are very limited when compared to flexion and extension. When we lose range of motion in our hips, our knees and lower back will try and make up for that lack of movement which can lead to injury over time. One of most common limiting factors that I’ve seen is a lack of proper internal and external hip rotation. When I evaluate an athlete, I will assess the hip in multiple positions to determine if there is adequate internal/external rotation. I want to see 30 degrees of internal rotation and 40 degrees of external rotation.  The second most common issue I see is a lack of hip extension which should be around 10 degrees. Having a lack of range of motion in these planes can cause lower back and knee pain especially in their training routines.

Another cause of limited hip mobility could be how the pelvis is orientated. Studies have shown when a pelvis anteriorly rotated, there is less room for the hip joint to actually move whereas having a posteriorly rotated pelvis, the hip joint has more room to move and can improve range of motion in the hip. We have a video on Instagram demonstrating that.

Hip mobility is incredibly important in preventing injuries, especially in the athletic population. Often times the root cause of the problem goes unchecked so that chronic lower back pain and knee pain could very well be coming from a lack of hip mobility. It’s important to find the right healthcare provider that will find the root cause of the problem and not just go right to the site of pain. We’ve had patients tell us they’ve tried conventional chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, and other methods for years but when we perform our functional movement screen it’s easy to find and diagnose the root cause of their pain and help then get on a path to a pain free life.


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