3 factors that can cause hip stiffness after sitting

Stiffness in Hips After Sitting

Many people sit for several hours each day. Whether you work at a desk in an office or at home, sitting can place immense pressure and strain on your joints. Sitting for long periods of time can also restrict blood flow to the muscles around your joints, leading to hip tightness and even pain when trying to stand

Common causes of general hip stiffness

The hips are important joints used for many daily movements. They allow you to bend your legs to sit down and play a large part in walking, running, and other leg movements. Hip stiffness can stem from many underlying causes, including: 

  • Overuse injuries. 
  • Inactivity for long periods of time. 
  • Arthritis
  • Lack of blood flow. 

In addition to the above potential causes of hip stiffness, several other causes that are specific to the hip anatomy can lead to stiffness after sitting. Physical therapy exercises and stretches can help address pain and inflexibility. 

3 factors that can specifically cause hip stiffness after sitting

Your hips are one of the most complex joints in your body. Their unique structure can bear your body weight and allow for movement of your legs at the joint in all directions. 

With such anatomical complexity comes a high risk for injuries, such as labrum tears and strained tendons. The following conditions can lead to hip stiffness after sitting for long periods of time: 

  • Tight hip flexors — The hip flexors are muscles that help move the hip joint. Sitting puts several of the hip flexors in their shortest position. Spending hours in this position can make them reluctant to stretch once you get up. Sitting for too long can also decrease blood flow to these important muscles and lessen their flexibility. As a result, getting up from the sitting position could lead to a feeling of stiffness across the front of your hips.

  • Anterior pelvic tilt — Another factor that can cause hip stiffness after sitting is a forward-tilted pelvis. The forward tilt is referred to as the anterior position by medical professionals. This can occur after frequent periods of sitting leave the core muscles and glutes weakened. The weak muscles make it harder to hold your pelvis in a neutral position while you’re sitting, especially if you aren’t paying attention to your sitting posture. As a result, the hips become moved from their neutral position and are chronically tilted forward, leading to a greater feeling of hip stiffness.

  • Overuse and overexertion — Leg exercises like squats and deadlifts are excellent ways to increase your mobility when they’re done occasionally. However, overdoing these exercises can leave you with stiff hips after sitting. This is because working out a muscle causes microscopic tears. The muscles then get bigger as the body repairs the tears. However, overdoing an exercise that places lots of strain on the hip muscles can increase the development of scar tissue in these muscles. In turn, scar tissue can lead to less flexibility in the hip muscles.

What can you do about hip stiffness after sitting?

Constantly feeling that your hips are stiff after sitting can be frustrating. Thankfully, there are many physical therapy techniques that can help you regain mobility, flexibility and strength. The following are ways physical therapy may help relieve your hip stiffness:

  • Mobility trainingStudies show that exercise can help ease hip pain and stiffness, especially if it’s caused by arthritis. Physical therapists can help patients gradually increase their exercise levels and range of motion so that tension in their joints and muscles can be released.

  • Strength training — Physical therapists know specific exercises that can gently increase blood flow to the hips and strengthen them against further injury. They can put together multiple exercises for you that can help you avoid stiffness after sitting.

  • Manual therapy Manual therapy refers to hands-on treatment that targets problem areas. Joint mobilization techniques allow physical therapists to slowly move a patient’s joints, even if it’s difficult for the patient to do themselves. Soft tissue mobilization is another type of manual therapy achieved by applying deep pressure to the tissue around joints. 

Visit SSOR to find ways to treat hip stiffness after sitting

Too much sitting can leave your hips stiff and sore afterward; fortunately, our SSOR physical therapists can help you find ways to treat hip stiffness. We offer treatment options that can help prevent it from happening again. Come into one of our clinics in the Kansas City, Kansas, area for a complimentary screening to discover the source of your hip stiffness or pain. We can also build you a personalized treatment plan for it using effective therapies, such as: 

Are you ready to start getting our help for your hip problems? Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.