Hip extension or the ability to move your thigh in a backward direction towards or behind your body is an important component of running which is sometimes under-utilised. 
Good extension of the hip optimises your propulsion angle (angle that you leave the ground and enter the flight phase of running), and allows the achilles (tendon at the back of your leg) and plantar fascia (ligament that runs underneath your foot) to store more energy while your foot is in contact with the ground which can then be used as kinetic energy to push you up into the air. 
Just like a Javelin thrown at the correct angle can optimise distance travelled, when running the angle that hip extension creates as you go to push yourself off the ground can maximise the distance travelled making your running style more efficient. 
Factors that can affect the quality of your hip extension are tight hip flexors, poor strength of gluteal muscles (muscles in your bottom) and hamstrings (muscles in the back of your thigh) and poorly controlled movements or habitual movement. 
A reduced ability to extend your hip will often make your calf muscles or quadriceps ( muscles in the front of your thigh) have to work harder to achieve propulsion and become more susceptible to an over-loading injury. If you are experiencing problems with these muscle groups or their associated tendons assessing hip extension is important to see if it is a contributing factor. 
At Colchester Physiotherapy and Sports injury clinic our physiotherapist are experts in assessing running gait and would be happy to help you improve or rectify issues you may have when running which could include a deficit in hip extension. 


Craig Fowlie 

Craig is a highly specialized physiotherapist with post graduate qualifications in Acupuncture and Sports and Exercise Medicine. 
He has worked with Professional Rugby sides in New Zealand and has assisted Great Britain Table Tennis at the World Team Championships and Olympic Qualifiers in Qatar and Germany. He is a consultant for the Governments Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and has published and presented research in the Journal of Physiotherapy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Conference. 
Outside of work he enjoys participating socially in triathlon and running. 
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