All the muscles present in the human body have their own significance. Even a tiny muscle plays an important role. Based on the movement of muscles, some are classified as abductor muscle and some as adductor muscle. The word abductor is from Latin and it means “to draw away from”. If any muscle is used to draw a body part away from the median of the body which is called the sagittal plane of the body, that muscle is called abductor muscle. So, when the muscles in the legs are used to draw away from the midline or away from each other, those muscles are nothing but abductor muscles. Similarly, they can be present in arms as well. It is important that these muscles have this motion, otherwise, the body stays stiff and not have the movements that we all enjoy. On the other hand, an adductor muscle does quite opposite to abductor muscle. In this article, we are providing details about this abductor muscle which can be useful for your fitness routines or simply get to know the details of these muscles. Let us get started.
Abductor Muscles and their location in the human body:
As discussed, abductor muscles are present at various locations in our body where they are able to draw the parts away from the body. Below are some of the examples of the Abductor muscles in our body.
- Upper Body: Supraspinatus, Deltoid muscles are part of arms and shoulder areas. Flexor carpi radialis, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis belongs to the hand around the wrist. Abductor digitiminimi, Dorsal interossei of the hand belongs to fingers. There are abductor muscles present at thumb which are called Abductor Pollicis longus, abductor pollicis brevis.
- Lower body: Hip is one of the important areas where we can find these abductor muscles. Naming the muscles, Gluteus maximus muscle, Gluteus medius muscle, Gluteus minimus muscle, Sartorius muscle, Tensor fasciae latae muscle, piriformis all belong to hip. Abductor hallucis, abductor Digitiminimi, Dorsal interossei of the foot belong to toe.
- Some abductors muscles are present in the eyeball and vocal folds too.
Pains associated with abductor muscles:
Like all the different muscles in the body, abductor muscles also have some problems. Abductor tendons help to connect the abductor muscle to bone for the movement. When the abductor tendons in the hip get inflamed, it is called as hip tendonitis. In severe conditions, these tendons might tear. This leads to extreme pain in the hip region sometimes making it difficult to stand or walk. The common symptoms associated with this are pain and weakness, snapping sounds, stiffness in the hip. The pain usually starts mild and develops over time. If not treated well in time, it causes severe issues. Seeing a doctor is recommended when the pain intensifies with time and does not go away after a few days. The healthcare provider can look into the issue and start immediate treatment for relieving the pain. The hip tendonitis is caused by the overuse of the hip area in either sports or any physical activity. If there is any muscle imbalance like too strong or too weak muscles in the hip region, it may lead to pains. Also, age contributes to weak tendons and tears. The healthcare provider may order X-rays, ultrasound or MRI in order to find the level of tears or problems and then start appropriate treatment. Treatments include rest, medicine for mild pain and some physical therapy, steroid injections if the problem is severe.
Abductor muscles – Exercises you should not ignore:
As we have seen the pains associated with abducted muscles, it is quite essential to do some exercises. For the weakness and pain, the abductor muscles need to be strengthened by doing some exercises which we are going to discuss in this session. As the injuries are more associated with the hip region, we are focusing on exercises to strengthen the hip abductor muscles. Let us get started.
- Hip Drop: This is a simple exercise that needs to be done with care as there should be control in the movement and for the exercise, the hip needs to be involved rather than the legs. For starting this exercise, your initial position needs to be on a raised step with 1 foot. This leg should be straight. Then, start lowering the other leg down and you should feel the movement in your hips. For the whole movement, your initial leg should be straight and shoulders should be stable. Hold this position for a few seconds. Return to the initial position with control. Repeat the same for the other leg.
- Leg lifts while side-lying: For starting this exercise, lie on the side of your body with hips stacked. For supporting your head, you may fold the arm on the floor under the head. The other hand should be placed on the floor in front of you. This ensures not to lean forward or backward. The legs should be in a stacked position. Now, the top leg should be lifted until it is higher than the hip position. This should make the hip flexed and you need to hold in this position for a few seconds. Now, return back to the initial position with control. Repeat the same on the other side too.
- Sidewalks: This is an effective exercise for strengthening your hip muscles. All you need is a resistance band. For the initial position, place this band around the ankles above the bone. The feet should be hip-width apart. Now, squat your feet to a semi-seated position. Your shoulders should be straight while gazing forward. While pushing the heel against the band, step out to the side as if you are walking sideways. Then bring the other leg so that the feet are again hip-width apart. The important point to be noted here is that, while stepping out, your hips should drive the movement rather than the toes. Continue this movement for some time and relax.
Now that you knew the importance of abductor muscles, beware of the pains associated with it and start doing the recommended exercises to gain strength.