T Nation

Right Leg/Hip Dysfunction


#1

Old injury rearing its ugly head again from sumo deadlifts.

It's a blend of piriformis and glute medius/minimus syndrome I think. Right hip.

Symptoms:
Pain and tightness over the trochanter bursa after conventional deads or deep squats.

Used to have a lot of pain in the adductor at the pelvic attachment but that has gotten much better.

Any single leg work, the outer quad is completely asleep in contrast to my
left leg which works and balances great. For example bulgarian split squats, I feel it in the tear drop, the hip, and the groin and more difficult to stay balanced. Pain when deep.

Single leg deadlifts, pain in my hip and pelvis at the very bottom. Harder to balance on the right.

Lowering regular deadlifts under control results in pain in the Sacro-illiac joint/back of the pelvis.

Sprints are okay, bit of pain if I go too hard but I don't go hard often, usually stay below 90%. 30-40 yards usually.

Just simply walking can be troublesome when it flares up. I find myself turning my right foot inward to walk straight.

I've strained my erectors many times. 4 out of 5 its the left erector, the last time it was the right side, completely surprised me. Had pain in the erector, down through the piriformis, and to the trochanter for a few days, plenty of rolling fixed it relatively quick.

I smash my glutes and hips on a regular basis with a lacrosse ball and roll the IT bands. I do a blend of Defrancos agile 8 and Magnificent Mobility before every workout. I squeeze my glutes hard through deadlifts. I've recently gotten in to taking ice baths after lower body days and it feels pretty damn good but doesn't do much to fix my hip. I deload every 4th week, no squatting, sprints, or deads.

Aside from going back to my ART chiro, which I will eventually, can anyone make some suggestions?


Adjust Squat Programming?
#2

sounds like poor firing pattern and/or hip imbalance (obviously)

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say you almost always use an over under grip on DL’s
And gonna assume more, and say that your left hand holds under, right hand over.

It’s likely that the imbalance isn’t only in your hips… it’s run its course up and down your body, judging from your issue with your erector.
This is the case when people ignore/cover up the pain and work through it.

You’re not gonna like it, but a solid month of postural alignment/rehab work would offer you great solace.

Again, all assumptions, perhaps you can fill us in a bit more


#3

Years ago when I first hurt myself, yes, I did use left hand under always. Stopped deadlifting for a long time. In the last few months of steady progress I switch hands every set unless it’s light in which I stay both overhand. I’ve always been more balanced and strong on my left side, possibly from previous knee and ankle injuries on my right leg.

I saw my chiro today and found a tight piriformis, medius, and minimus, likely from overuse. I’m down for a bunch of rehab and alignment work, just can’t afford a month’s worth. I’ll probably do 2 more sessions with the doc and I also found some good stretches that hit exactly what I need to work on:

90/90 stretch here

Quadruped Piriformis Stretch on page 2/3 here

I see the doc again in a few days, I’ll see about some more postural/alignment excercises. Have a few competing strongmen/powerlifters at the gym I can ask to watch my lifts for feedback.

Thanks.


#4

I used to mainly do left under/right over. I started switching it up. About 6 months ago I noticed my right back muscles getting bigger than my right. About 2-3 months ago my right shoulder felt like it was more forward and was making my right chest get bigger than my left. I stopped working out, only doing pull ups/push ups/run (PT test).

Last week I went to the gym for a leg workout, but only my right glute/leg were pumped. I have worked out for about 4 years now and never had this problem. I used to have a good physique, but this problem is affecting everything/ I noticed my right hip was higher and when I lean up against the wall my right side touches before the left. I would really like to fix this because it’s asthetically/mentally/physically affecting me. My body is so imbalanced now, and I don’t know why.


#5

This problem is unfortunately very common. I started lurking around here a few months ago because I was experiencing the same thing. It seems like somebody asks this sort of question at least once a week. I’ve been reading up and trying all kind of stuff, and I feel like I’ve been making a little progress lately.

Larry, it seems like you have the problem pretty well identified. The muscles on the outside of you right hip/thigh aren’t working correctly, so the muscles on the inside are having to work overtime. When ever you move, even when you walk, your body is shifting the work to the muscles on the inside of your right leg, and the outside muscles on the outside of your left.

You mention doing the Agile 8. I tried this warmup for a few weeks myself, but it didn’t seem to help. I think maybe the moves are just a little too advanced. The routine is great to put your hips through a good range of motion, the moves are too “Big.” Rather than fire up my glutes, I think I just cheated my way through the motions, using my lower back and hamstrings.

I came across this more regressed glute warmup somewhere on this forum, and I’ve been trying to repeat it as often as possible;

Clam Shells
Glute Bridges
Seated Psoas Hold

They are really easy moves, where I can really focus on one area at a time. The clam shell especially good. Try it, and see if you can “wake up” the outside of your right leg/hip.

Another move you might try is the Peterson Step Up. You’re on the right track with the Bulgarian Split squats and other single leg work, but you said yourself that the split squat doesn’t feel right. I think it may just be a little too much right now. The Peterson Step Up is a one leg move, with a short range of motion. I think it’s usually thought of as a move for the knee, but I can really feel it in on the outside of my hips too. After a few sessions, I could feel my right hip again, and flex those muscles to square up my pelvis. After a few weeks, I can do bodyweight lunges on my right leg without falling over or any discomfort. Soon, I’m hoping to add some weight, then progress on to the Split Squats, and then front squats.

You could also try some of the half kneeling exercises from here;

Here’s a guy having the same problem

This is pretty long and rambling, so to sum up;

Clam Shells
Glute Bridges
Seated Psoas Hold

as often as possible to fire up your hips and glutes and try to get you “lined up” properly.

Peterson Step Ups a couple times a week as a gym lift. Once you get good at them, try some harder stuff.


#6

Have you considered it might be a trochanteric bursitis?

Main part of rehab for a bursitis is avoiding faulty movement patterns which irritate the bursa… so if it hurts, stop. The second step is fixing the movement patterns: you mentioned having adductor origin pain, have you looked at the strength of your rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis? A weak rec ab will be compensated for by adductors which become over worked which leads to pain. Rec ab can become weak through the over work of compensating for weak TAs. SIJ pain and erector strains also point to poor stabilization through the hips and abdomen.

I would start with TA activations and stabilization work, see how that changes everything.


#7

Great stuff, thanks. I’ll put some things together and see how it works.

Had three ART sessions and a bunch of stretching on my own, I’ll be at the gym later today to try some things, will add the Peterson for sure. Not sure if I want to test with squats for deadlifts but my Chiro does want me to do something to see how it goes.


#8

Check out the info in this article

The leg routine in here seems really simple and effective. I tried some 1 Leg standing calf raises yesterday, and I was all over the place. My calves were weak as shit, and my feet were rolling and shifting. No wonder i can’t squat straight! I plan to do a lot of 1 leg standing calf raises now.


#9

Did squats, left leg came away more sore the following days, however… I did get my right leg working a little better with a warmup of clam shells and the peterson step ups. Day and two later, my hip didn’t hurt, but my right glute felt sleepy whereas I had a slight ‘good sore’ in the left. Tricky thing is when I contract my glutes hard, the medius/minimus on the right is tight, I can feel it pulling backwards so I’m still tight in there. It’s going to be a bit of trial and error and time to find what works.

Probably going to deadlift saturday to see how that feels and then maybe try out Colucci’s article fix. Thanks again.


#10

Good to hear an update. Like you said, this has been kind of a trial and error process for me too, so it’s useful to see what helps other people.

You can try the clam shells and glute brides at home, out side the gym too.

After reading the Colucci article, did some 1 legged standing calf raises the other day. I was terrible at them! my left foot wanted to roll onto the side and my right foot wanted to point off to the right. Something else to work on!


#11

Deadlifted today, no hip pain but I’m still clearly using more left side. Sooooooooo, I’m going to do Colucci’s fix and since it includes front squats that will keep me happy. I might also trying taping my right medius/minimus, see if I can shut them down and force more glute and quad VL activation. If the PL/strongman team is around next weekend I may deadlift again and ask them to watch my form.


#12

Why would you try to inhibit glute min and med?


#13

They’re overactive. Too much goes on them and not enough on glute max, ham, and quad. Now that I’ve cooled down a lot they’ve tightened up again.


#14

I’ve been doing some 1 arm farmer’s walks in my warm up for the last week or 2. Instead of alternating sides, I’ve just been doing 3 straight goes with my left arm, then 3 with the right. It’s worked well to get my “sides” going before the regular lifts.

Also Hip Hikes throughout the day on the steps at home.

I’m planning on some hanging leg raises, raising 1 leg at a time, as the next thing to try.

Have you thought about isometrics, or partial range dead lifts? If you can’t stay “balanced” throughout the entire dead lift movement maybe you could start just above the knees and gradually work your way down as your positioning improves. Or just stand at the top of the DL, holding the weight and really thinking about driving your glutes, and flexing your abs.

And do whatever you can to let someone experienced watch your lifts. They’ll be able to tell you exactly where your technique breaks down, and when you stop engaging your abs or whatever.


#15

Caught a cold so will be out of the gym for a bit. I’ll give some of those others a try, hip hikes might do something and I like the unilateral farmer idea, the gym has been in pieces recently since it moved to a new location. Might try some paused deadlifts from the floor that I think Contreras wrote about not too long ago. Def still need someone to watch my lifts once we finishing building the place.


#16

Blew my back getting out of bed! All I did was lean up. The following week I had sciatic pain from erectors down through my glute to my calf/shin. Now I’m back to square one with the hip pain and tightness. Thing is my right hip is more flexible than my left and I can’t stretch it any further. Going to let it rest for a while now and just restart with the very basics.