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How Can Tight Muscles of the Hip Joint Cause a Scoliosis?

The next logical question is what can drop/depress the pelvis in the frontal plane? One possibility is a dropped arch, which lowers the pelvis on that side. Another possibility is genu valgus, a postural distortion pattern at the knee joint in which the (lower) leg, i.e., the tibia, is abducted. Another possibility which is the focus of this article is an asymmetrical pull of musculature across the hip joint in the frontal plane.

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Hip Joint Muscles and Scoliosis

TIGHT HIP ABDUCTOR AND/OR ADDUCTOR MUSCULATURE CAN CHANGE THE FRONTAL PLANE POSTURE OF THE PELVIS, RESULTING IN A SCOLIOSIS. PERMISSION JOSEPH E. MUSCOLINO. KINESIOLOGY – THE SKELETAL SYSTEM AND MUSCLE FUNCTION, 3ED (ELSEVIER, 2017)

There are two groups of musculature that cross the hip joint and attach to the pelvis in the frontal plane. They are the abductors and the adductors.

  • The abductor group is composed of the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, upper 1/3 of the gluteus maximus, tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and the sartorius.
  • The adductor group is composed of the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis (sometimes known as the adductor gracilis), and the pectineus.

If an asymmetry of baseline tone pull of these two groups relative to each other occurs, the frontal plane posture of the pelvis will be changed. To better understand this, we need to understand what are known as “closed-chain” “reverse” actions of muscles. These are actions in which the muscle moves the proximal attachment, the attachment that is often described as the “origin.” At the hp joint in the frontal plane, all muscles that abduct the thigh at the hip joint also do depression of the (same-side) pelvis at the hip joint. And all muscles that adduct the thigh at the hip joint also do elevation of the pelvis (of the same-side pelvis) at the hip joint. And of course, whenever the pelvis is depressed on one side, it elevates on the other side, and vice versa.

So, if the abductor group on one side is tighter at baseline tone than the adductor group on that side, the pelvis will be pulled into depression on that side. This would result in a lumbar scoliosis that is convex on that side. If instead, the adductor group on one side is tighter at baseline tone than the abductor group on that side, the pelvis will be pulled up into elevation on that side, which would result in a lumbar scoliosis that is concave on that side.






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