So for example, if the hip flexors don't work, then hip flexion becomes vulnerable and the body has to compensate by using another muscle. For some people, that is the Sternocleidomastoid (as discussed in the previous post). For others it is the Tibialis Anterior (a muscle at the front of the shin).
Right so let me show you something. Stand up. Feet together. Now, keeping the toes relaxed towards the floor, lift one leg up so that the knee is bent and in line with the hip. Hold it there. Feel stable? Test the other leg. Any difference?
Now repeat the same test but this time pull the toes up as well (dorsiflex the ankle). This works the tibialis anterior. How does it feel? More stable? Now you should be able to understand the connection between the two.
So if the hip flexors have gone on holiday, then, as we said, the anterior tibialis can take over to compensate. But it can only do this for so long before it becomes over worked. And when it does, it will kick up a fuss and cause a whole load of problems (after all, none of us like to be taken advantage of do we?).
So if you have been treated for gout but to no avail then maybe it's worth looking at your tibialis anterior. Try massaging and pressing along the muscle to see if you can replicate the pain that you experience. If you do…bingo.
Now massaging this area often may reduce the pain short-term but if the anterior tibialis is doing the job of the hip flexors then chances are you will be treating a symptom and not the cause.
So would we just condition the hip flexors? We could do. But unfortunately reciprocal inhibition is often the precursor to synergistic dominance.
In a nutshell this means that we need to find out the reason for the hip flexors not working in the first place, and chances are, something else is stopping them from doing their job.