Hip Joint Pain after resume martial arts training

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by dr azebo, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. dr azebo

    dr azebo New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I am in my mid 40s and just resumed my martial arts training after 10 years. I find that my flexibility has quite diminished and I am trying to hard to regain it as it is severely limiting my moves, balance, kicks etc.

    So I am doing some kind of dynamic stretching every day and a harder static stretching regiment (following the routine outlined here: Isometric split progression

    Just to be clear, I am not really after splits, I just want to be able to kick high, currently i can only kick as high as my hip level. Obviously due to my age i am not making the kind of fast progress i am hoping for. But what really is bothering me is a joint hip pain. This pain is always there, it's not severe , it rather mild an becomes better as i warm up. But it;s always there.

    When I was younger , i don't recall this kind of pain persisting . I talked to my Sensei and he mentioned that it maybe a mild form of arthritis which is flaring up due to the strain I am putting on it with my frequent stretching.

    Before I resumed my training, I never had any kind of pain like this, whether going to the gym, skiing or playing tennis, so I find it a bit improbably that it is Arthritis.

    So my questions are:
    1. Could this indeed by Arthritis making stretching more difficult for me?
    2. If it is not should I just take a day off not doing any kind of stretching , regardless of how mild?
    3. If it is Arthritis , what is the most effective way to still reach decent flexibility with this condition without hurting myself?

    Thank you in advance for any replies.
  2. Brigid

    Brigid Kung Fu Mother

    You may have damaged a muscle in the area, which needs to heel. I think there’s one called the piriformis which can cause pain in that area and there are stretches you can do to help. It might be arthritis, I guess, but your doctor rather than your Sensei is best qualified to diagnose .

    You don’t say how long you have been working on your stretching. I think the body needs time to adjust to new levels of activity and while it’s important to keep pushing to reach high standards, there’s a higher risk of injury if you push yourself too hard too quickly. Hope you resolve the issue soon.
  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Before you do your stretching, do you warm up adequately?

    I'd recommend talking to a physiotherapist, or someone specialised in sports-injury to get a diagnosis.

    EDIT: Just noticed you asked "should you take a day off" - my understanding (and someone will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong) is that you should include rest-days in your training schedule to allow the muscles time to repair/recover from each session. This is true whether it be stretching, or weight training, or any kind of physical development.

    Are you including stretches for the whole body? Many people focus solely on the hips, not realising that the issue may be with other muscle groups.
  4. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Obviously speak to a professional, but kicking (particularly sidekicks) uses the hip abductors to a degree that is not often matched with other activities. It may well be that you need to specifically work on strengthening your hip abductors to stop the aches.

    It could be something entirely different though, I'm just a random guy on the internet, not a medical professional. :)
  5. dr azebo

    dr azebo New Member

    Just to clarify , i have no kind of pain when i just walk or do regular activities , it's only a mild pain when i actually do any kicks or stretches. I have been working on my stretches for almost two weeks now, so maybe that is the time i need at my age to get adjusted.

  6. dr azebo

    dr azebo New Member

    I think i am, I mean i do light stretching to warm up. Is that what you thinking of or should I be doing any kind of running or mild cardio?

    In regards to the day off, I do take a day off from strength training and heavy static stretching but I though that it's ok to do daily mild/relaxed stretching.
  7. dr azebo

    dr azebo New Member

    Thanks for the reply. I guess my question would be is it safe to strengthen the hip abductor if it is indeed a mild for of arthritis or are they other ways to deal with the condition?
  8. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    You should be at some sort of cardio to get the blood pumping to the muscles to increase their elasticity before you begin stretching.
    Try to get a light sweat going by some jogging, or shadow boxing :)
    Monkey_Magic and Dead_pool like this.
  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    A warm up should quite literally warm you up, Stretching isn't a warm up.
    Monkey_Magic likes this.
  10. Old bloke

    Old bloke Active Member

    Mr deadpool sir, I have to disagree, stretching should be part of the warm up
  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Got any science to back your point up?

    How exactly does Stretching "warm you up"
    Dan Bian likes this.
  12. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    There's a great one based on a few years of international tennis competition with hundreds of participants, can't see it where I thought it was, I'll keep looking.
  14. Old bloke

    Old bloke Active Member

    Science not my strong point, but how can a group of muscles work properly if the whole muscle is not warm, a muscle by nature is a piece of tissue that contracts and relaxes, if you need to use the muscle as a whole, then it needs to be warm in both relaxed and contracted states, for example to get the most from a bicep curl, the movement with the weights needs to be performed through the whole of the biceps range.
  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    This depends both on how you stretch and your baseline fitness.

    Studies where stretching was found to have no effect on injury rates has, AFAIK, been done on people who are professionally active (athletes, soldiers).

    Extended static stretches are not great, I would argue at any time, but gentle static stretching - especially once you build enough body awareness to mitigate the stretch reflex, is fine.

    Effect of acute static stretch on maximal muscle performance: a systematic review. - PubMed - NCBI
    Dead_pool likes this.
  16. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I can't diagnose arthritis over the internet. I have known a lot of people, myself included, who have experienced hip pain from kicking though. And in every case it was fixed by focused abductor strengthening.

    If you think you may have arthritis, then you should get a medical professional to confirm or rule it out.
    spawn2031 likes this.
  17. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Whilst it "could" be fine (less then 60 seconds per stretch, non mixed fitness class) it also doesn't act as to raise the heart rate, which is what a warm up is for. Stretches as part of the cool down are a far more effective and safe use of time.
    Monkey_Magic and David Harrison like this.
  18. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    It's difficult to provide specific advice without examining you but hopefully some of the following may help. Please note that no part of my answer constitutes a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.

    While most people tend to default to thinking of osteoarthritis when making a self-diagnosis, the truth is it could be one of a number of things.

    The most common cause of hip pain during side splits that I encounter in my adult clients (particularly those who never did the splits as a child) is lack of sufficient hip external rotation during abduction. Externally rotating the hips allows bony prominences of the femur and pelvis to move past each other without jamming and causing pain. However, some people struggle visualising this motion. The easiest way to train the side split while creating enough space in the hip joints is to perform your stretches in a horse riding stance.

    Other factors causing your pain may include poor exercise form; lack of a proper warm-up; insufficient strength of muscles and connective tissues (most people starting out on a proper flexibility programme aren't strong enough to hold up just their own body weight in a wide straddle, let alone additional loads as outlined in the Isometric Split Progression thread); poor recovery; short and tight synergist muscles (no muscle acts in isolation and consideration must be given to the condition of those muscles which assist the agonists or prime movers); a weak core (proximal stability facilitates distal mobility - properly strengthening the muscles that stabilise the core will make unfamiliar positions requiring extreme range of motion feel 'safe' to the nervous system); capsular restrictions; trigger points; fear avoidance; inflammation; and, of course, degenerative* conditions like OA.

    * Be mindful that "degenerative" does not equate to "weak" or "broken." Often such conditions are normal age-related changes that do not necessarily mean you cannot exercise relatively normally.

    My advice would be to reduce the volume, intensity and frequency of your workouts; examine your nutrition and sleep habits; hire a trainer to check your exercise form; regularly stretch all muscles on both sides of the body; and add joint mobility exercises to your programme (do a search for "mobilisations with movement"). If your pain persists, seek medical attention.
  19. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    To address other tangents raised in this thread regarding efficacy of stretching in warm-ups and related research... you are all correct to some degree.

    @Dead_pool is right that static stretching alone does not sufficiently prepare the body for the main part of a workout. But @Old bloke and @David Harrison are also both right that stretching forms part of the warm-up, but it depends on the type of stretching, respectively.

    Specificity is king where exercise selection (including choice of stretches) and programme design are concerned. A warm-up can (and should) include static stretches if the main part of the workout includes displays of static flexibility, like bridges, splits, and leg holds. Several martial arts fall into this category.

    Unfortunately the majority of scientific research into stretching suffers from design flaws, such as examining static stretching prior to maximum effort explosive movements, which do not reflect the reality of what happens in the clinic and gym.
  20. dr azebo

    dr azebo New Member

    Thank you for the elaborate and informative reply. I guess the real answer i wanted is to know if hip joint soreness in itself is a sign of arthritis or not since my Sensei was asserting that regular soreness affects the muscles and not the joints. If I understood you and others correctly this is not the case and hip joint soreness can be caused by a multitude of factors other than arthritis .

    But i have some follow up questions:

    1) I understand that poor form and weak supporting muscles can cause soreness, however isn't it expected that someone my age , after so many years of inactivity is going to get some type of hip joint soreness , especially while going through the isometric split progression regiment. So basically isn't it normal to feel sore?

    2) I may need more of a recovery time with my age, but with that said, I believe i read on one of your threads that light/relaxed stretching can be done every day. Is that accurate and would that still apply to someone like in my situation or do you advocate some days where I don't do anything at all whatsoever?

    3) you speak of strengthening muscles that stabilize core, is the isometric split program not helping to do so? It sounded to me as if the point of this exercise is to build that support and build the necessary strength.

    4) you mentioned nutrition, is there any specific nutrition you should or should not take while you working on flexibility especially in your fourties?

    Thank you in advance for any additional input.

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