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not skiing related but need advice on possible muscle imbalances (?)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have been a serious runner for over 2 years. During that time I've had no serious injuries but a fair share of the usual aches and pains. One thing I've noticed is that if I have any type of pain or discomfort, whether it be in my knee, ankle, muscles, etc., it is nearly always on the left side. I can do a long run and afterward my right leg feels fine but my left is much more sore.

My latest problem has been an issue with a tight left hamstring. Shortly after beginning to run, my left hamstring tightens up and that seems to lead to my left quad getting very sore and fatigued. The tight hamstring problem seems to have started up when I switched to running indoors on the treadmill with the onset of winter. Yesterday I attempted to run a 50K race. I had to pull out after 20 miles though because my left leg was killing me and I literally could not run. My right leg felt fine though. My left hamstring, quad and glutes are noticeably tighter and more sore than my right.

I am getting really concerned about this as I am eager to begin training for a 50 mile ultramarathon that I will be running April. A couple of questions I have are--why is my left leg always more sore than the right? What can I do to correct this apparent imbalance? Also what can I do about this tight left hamstring problem? Should I be stretching, icing? Should I go and have a consultation with a real physical therapist to get an evaluation?

Thanks for any input you can offer!
post #2 of 9
i have a muscle imbalance and i have gotten a real tight IT band on left leg..both of my problems end up affecting my left knee...been to PT twice over a 2 year period and she bacically said go to a gym because its a lot cheaper.. "she did get me to the point of skiing about 5 to 6 hours without pain"i stretch quads,calf,IT band "by doing a hip stretch "and ham strings for about 20 min before i leave for skiing"3 to 4 time a week" also us a theraband to exercise my left leg
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Has it been explained to you why you have this imbalance? Is it because of strength differences, one leg shorter than the other, mechanical differences, etc? I'd like to know what's causing it so I can try and correct it with strengthening, orthotics, or something like that, if possible.
post #4 of 9
my left leg makes a turn out from being a little longer than right..we tried a heel lift for a while but found it was causing more pain"though not severe"length difference was not a killer issue...first year i lost some wieght and after pt for 8 weeks 2 to three time a week i was fine..i would pull up lame after a couple hours of skiing"would be fine after i sat for a while"lost 25 lbs and was able to ski for 5 /6 hours no problem..last year we mountained bike 3 time a week all off season and i developed a really tight IT band down the left leg on left side...would tighten up and was pulling knee out of place ...so back to pt for 6 to 8 weeks and when finished she said if it happens again just go to a gym and work out all leg muscles and i would be fine...i also used a foam roller to work out the IT band in am and used ski poles on lift during the day when skiing..this year i get a little of both and am about to start on my diet to lose about 20 lbs again..i have been doing theraband exercises and stretching and today we skied abot 830 to 3 with a 15/20 min break...beat but legs/knee seem ok ..hope it helps
post #5 of 9
Eric Franklin goes into this in his book "Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery." Without knowing your individual details, the short form goes like this. Everyone has a dominant side, usually determined by being left or right handed. Even if you aligned well--in skiing, standing or walking/running--the dominant side is slightly closer to your central axis than the non-dominant. This is the leg we habitually and unconsciously use for our support leg. The result is, for most people: 1) We step off to walk or run with our non-dominant leg since walking/running is a repetition of decentering imbalanced steps. Unconsciously, it's habitually easier to move the leg that carries less weight. ( As an aside, even though I'm aligned well on my skis, with a dominant right side, I can turn more easily to the right since I can decenter myself onto my left leg more easily than my right.) 2) This slight imbalance and difference in muscle mass means the pelvis is not perfectly square above your legs and below your shoulders. It tends to be tipped forward or backward and rotated to one side or the other. Hence, one form of postural imbalance that comes from being either left or right handed is reinforced through thousands of movements over the years. But, the good news is, you can deal with this with a good physical therapist who can give you the right exercises.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by stryder
Should I go and have a consultation with a real physical therapist to get an evaluation?
naaaah. why would you want someone who knows what they're doing to examine you, when you can get a bunch of ignorant unqualified Internet Hack pseudo-MDs to explain it to you?

I mean, if someone else has felt similar pain, I'm sure their solution will work for you. It has to. We're all identical robots with the same exact moving parts, right?
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightcat
Eric Franklin goes into this in his book "Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery." Without knowing your individual details, the short form goes like this. Everyone has a dominant side, usually determined by being left or right handed. Even if you aligned well--in skiing, standing or walking/running--the dominant side is slightly closer to your central axis than the non-dominant. This is the leg we habitually and unconsciously use for our support leg. The result is, for most people: 1) We step off to walk or run with our non-dominant leg since walking/running is a repetition of decentering imbalanced steps. Unconsciously, it's habitually easier to move the leg that carries less weight. ( As an aside, even though I'm aligned well on my skis, with a dominant right side, I can turn more easily to the right since I can decenter myself onto my left leg more easily than my right.) 2) This slight imbalance and difference in muscle mass means the pelvis is not perfectly square above your legs and below your shoulders. It tends to be tipped forward or backward and rotated to one side or the other. Hence, one form of postural imbalance that comes from being either left or right handed is reinforced through thousands of movements over the years. But, the good news is, you can deal with this with a good physical therapist who can give you the right exercises.

hmmmm - I must be a freak then .... because I lift my DOMINANT right side leg when I stand..... and am a goofy footed surfer whilst being right handed (not uncommon the surf coach tells me).... simply put my right foot is less stable - so I prefer the left one down & weighted than the less stable right....
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
hmmmm - I must be a freak then .... because I lift my DOMINANT right side leg when I stand..... and am a goofy footed surfer whilst being right handed (not uncommon the surf coach tells me).... simply put my right foot is less stable - so I prefer the left one down & weighted than the less stable right....
I'm assuming you are being straightforward here. Are you sure that you lift your dominant right side leg what you stand? I thought you would lift that when you move? When I stand, I don't lift either leg.
post #9 of 9
yes - that leg is short.... so i off load it ...... or the other(alternate).... but I PREFER that one up.....

I stand all day & my preferred working arrangement is with drawers in front of the computer... open bottom drawer.... pop right foot on drawer... HAPPY legs/back then!

Ditto surfing I like that leg forward because it lets me jump the shorter leg through & keep the longer one back more....

SURF coach says it is not uncommon for right handers to be goofy foot.... but less common for left handers to be not goofy.... : I dunno
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › not skiing related but need advice on possible muscle imbalances (?)