Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Knee valgus and stagger stance in one leg

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    • #71733
      AvatarDean Shu

      Hi all,

      I play a sport with a lot of hard cutting and historically haven’t taken good care of my body. As a result, I was always extremely tight until I found MobilityWOD, and that led to a number of problems such as osteitis pubis, FAI, and a labral tear in my left hip. Around 2-3 years ago, I noticed when I was squatting that it felt natural and “balanced” if I squatted with a stagger stance, with my left foot 2-3 inches behind my right, and my foot slightly externally rotated. 
      Since I finally started taking care of my body, I’ve managed to overcome the osteitis pubis, hip impingement, and labral pain (I had the hip scope surgery for this). However, it still feels natural to have my left foot 2-3 inches behind my right with the external rotation. If I force myself into an even stance, I get knee valgus in my left leg when trying to squat down, and it feels really unnatural and imbalanced. It makes sense why I feel the urge to externally rotate – my quad/hamstring of my left leg (knee valgus leg) aligns with the quad/hamstring of the other leg as a result of the external rotation. 
      I’ve really tried to figure out whats causing this imbalance, and the one big difference I’ve noticed between legs is flexibility in the pigeon stretch – my right is significantly more flexible than my left. Despite how much I’ve sat in pigeon on my left, done tissue work on my TFL and upper glute, etc., I can’t seem to get rid of this tightness and even things out. I’m convinced that this is whats causing the natural internal rotation which is forcing me to externally rotate to even things out. 
      Would greatly appreciate any thoughts, comments, advice, etc. Also happy to provide more information. Thank you!
    • #76764
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Are you hips out of alignment?
      You may need a hip adjustment from a chiro.
      Have you had a coach or training partner what you squat or video tape yourself squatting so you can see exactly what is going on.

      When you get use to doing a skill with deviations from ideal technique doing it with proper technique will seem weird. Breaking any habit is tough, however, keep working with it.

      What is your hip and ankle mobility like?
      Squat Quick Test: Is it Tight Ankles or Tight Hips? | Community Video

    • #76769
      AvatarSunnee Hoppe

      Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure if they are out of alignment – maybe I should see a chiropractor and check that out. It really does seem like its some kind of tightness though. A lot of times when I get to a pretty deep point in my squat, I feel some type of tightness pulling my leg a bit more in and then into a little bit of impingement. I’ll check out that video you linked. Thanks again. 

    • #76770
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Yes, I would get it checked out.
      If your hips are out of alignment compensations which you may or may not be aware of are happening.
      Things can go on tension early which could be the tightness you are feeling.
      Is your psoas tight?

    • #76775
      AvatarSunnee Hoppe

      Psoas was really tight but I did tissue work on it early January and hasn’t been tight since. I’ve basically been doing tissue work and stretching since then – overall hip tightness has gotten significantly better, but the misalignment is still there. Just booked a chiropractor appointment!

    • #76777
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Good to hear you are seeing improvements with the work you are doing.
      Look forward to hearing how things are progressing.
      Consistency is key which you are seeing.

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