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Muscle Imbalance Causing Pain (Read 1496 times)

    My right (dominant) quad gets significantly more sore than my left quad after running. It seems to be worse after running on a hard surface, but is still noticeable on any surface. Even if it is not sore it is more fatigued than my left quad. My assumption is that my running form or gait is faulty and I'm causing this problem. Has anyone else had this issue and what can be done about it? Can someone point me to a good Internet site that will teach me proper form and what it should feel like? Thanks.

      Another possibility is a leg length discrepancy. Before you go messing around with your stride you might want to figure out exactly what is causing the problem.

        Another possibility is a leg length discrepancy. Before you go messing around with your stride you might want to figure out exactly what is causing the problem.

         

        I never thought of that. This is why I ask here first.  Great idea.


        Needs more cowbell!

          Mad, pretty much EVERY chronic sort of thing I've ever dealt with has been related to my right leg.  I've long suspected that it's longer than my left leg in some way...either it's actually longer or my pelvis is crooked in some way (and everything I have read about leg length issues suggests that the longer leg ends up having to work harder, and is more prone to overuse issues).  I notice that sometimes when I'm running I feel sorta like my midsection is twisting irregularly--it's hard to put it into words.  I also always run with my left arm tucked up higher than my right (I even end up with a white diamond-shaped pasty area, when the rest of my arm gets tanned), which I almost suspect is some sort of balance/compensation mechanism.

          Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

          '14 Goals:

          • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

            Probably 99% of us has one leg stronger than the other, one leg longer than the other, therefore, the form is slightly off from right side and the left side.  Zoomy's comment is perfect about "know thyself".  Noticing your right quad getting sore is a good step.  As Beastie said, try to figure out what's causing it.  In my case, my left leg is slightly longer than my right.  And, I suspect this is the reason but not for sure, I tend to land more on my mid-foot (or on my toes) with my left foot while I tend to land more on my heel with my right foot (not all the time).  It is quite apparent when I turn over my shoes and see the wear pattern--my right shoe has more wear on the heel area.  I knew that landing on the heel takes a lot more pounding probably in the 1980s before McDougal or Leiberman said so simply because I felt it in my right quads.  

             

            As I got older, I feel my imbalance had become worse and I've been trying to counter that by trying to work on my right leg pretty much all the time.  I had to go to this medical device expo at U of M today and I was on my feet all day.  So I was doing a mini-squat on my right leg whenever I had a chance.  I think it's gotten better since last year but I can tell I'd need to work on that more...  Would this fix my sore quad on my right leg?  I don't know and I probably don't think so--I still tend to land a tad more on my heel with my right foot and, as long as I do that, my quad takes more pouring and gets more beaten up than my left quad.  

             

            I had an interesting chat with Mark Wetmore last month while visiting him in Boulder.  He said he had leg length discrepancy.  He had a hard time running at all when it was "corrected by orthtics".  Once he threw them away, he was able to run freely.  I think far too many people waste their energy (and money) trying to fix something that probably doesn't mean as much as some people seem to like to think it does. 

            Mad, pretty much EVERY chronic sort of thing I've ever dealt with has been related to my right leg.  I've long suspected that it's longer than my left leg in some way...either it's actually longer or my pelvis is crooked in some way (and everything I have read about leg length issues suggests that the longer leg ends up having to work harder, and is more prone to overuse issues).  I notice that sometimes when I'm running I feel sorta like my midsection is twisting irregularly--it's hard to put it into words.  I also always run with my left arm tucked up higher than my right (I even end up with a white diamond-shaped pasty area, when the rest of my arm gets tanned), which I almost suspect is some sort of balance/compensation mechanism.

              A leg length discrepancy will put more load on the long leg. 

               

              My right leg is 29 mm longer than my left leg.  I learned that when I went to a chiropractor about some lower back pain shortly after starting running.  The chiro will back you up to an Xray and measure the relative length of each leg. 

               

              I put a 1/4 inch shim in my left running shoe.  I also try to run on the "wrong" side of the road when possible. 

              Jeff F


              Free Beer

                I have been through the leg length discrepancy issue also.  I had a chiropractor tell me I had one, then I went to a podiatrist who actually did the x-rays to tell me that I didn't.  I then found a therapist who has a very good reputation within the running community and she determined the real issue is in my hip caused by a muscle imbalance.  This muscle imbalance rotates my hip to make it appear I have a leg length discrepancy.  By working on the muscle imbalance and stretching out my hip, the issue has pretty much disappeared.  At my age nothing every disappears completely, but I can now run pain free.


                hairshirt knitter

                  Have you discounted the camber effect from running on one side of the road? Obviously depends on where you run, but I have to mix it up here as constantly running facing traffic has me running on a slope tilting the same way out and back.

                    Thanks for all the good advice. I have had problems in the past with road camber, but it bothered my hips and IT band mostly, so now I keep it pretty flat. I guess I could have a leg length discrepancy and or a muscle imbalance. My wife just measured my quads for me (she thinks I'm nuts by the way) and there is a half inch difference. I don't know if that is a factor or not. I trust the opinion of physical therapists, so that may be the path I eventually take.

                      Have you discounted the camber effect from running on one side of the road? Obviously depends on where you run, but I have to mix it up here as constantly running facing traffic has me running on a slope tilting the same way out and back.

                       

                      I can't speak to leg length deficiency, but I am dealing the same thing you mention right now. What appeared to be PF in November has worsened and now I am inflamed from my toes to my hips on both sides (with the left being worse.) My podiatrist tried the standard orthotics and did a cortisone shot in my left foot but could not get any relief and the pain just radiated upward. I made some observations and discussed the issue with him last week and he decided physical therapy was my best chance of healing as he believed that it was a "movement issue." He was right, although I wish it would have happened much earlier.

                       

                      Just started PT on Friday and they said I am moving as if I am "windblown" - as if I am on the far left side of the road and fighting wind. I am just off in general, very inflamed (I hurt sitting, standing, sleeping, moving), and have months of hardcore PT and work ahead of me. Once I get everything stretched and strengthened again, I should start to feel better, but it will take some time. In the future, I plan to watch this very carefully so I never let this happen again. 

                      Kerry

                      HF #1048

                      Concept2 - Marathons Rowed April & May 2013

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                        I have consistently had injuries on one side vs the other and it's been getting worse as I get older. I recently had a test on a Biodex machine which tested the strength difference between my 2 sides. There is not much of a difference between sides in my quads on both extension and flexing, but large differences 24 and 35%) in my hamstrings. I have a hip Imbalance but there may be other reasons for that. I ihave been prescribed physiotherapy for strengthening, but that doesn't eliminate the cause. I wish I could figure that out.

                        Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

                          A couple years ago my PT said I was using my quad to compensate for my weak hip flexors. This could be causing my lop-sided pain and stiffness. I've started to do some hip flexor exercises to strengthen them. Maybe this will work.


                          flatland mountaineer

                            Interesting blogs from a PT clinic that I have started with.

                             

                            http://hruskaclinic.com/about-us/staff/lori-thomsen

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                              An update to hopefully add value to this thread. For the past 3 weeks I've been doing exercises to strengthen my hip flexors and it seems to have alleviated my quad pain significantly. Thanks everyone for your inputs.