T Nation

Uneven Pelvis, which is short leg?

I’ve been lengthening the the side that has the high hip. Is this the right idea? To me it makes sense because that is the side with the shortened torso, and scoliosis concavity.

but on the other hand, I also have a hunch that i should be trying to lengthen the left leg but then lengthening the opposing right torso/abdominals. I favor my right leg immensely over the left.

my imbalances are as follows:-weak left leg and hip, but then stronger left side from the above the hip.
-strong right leg and hip, but weaker above that.

So question ultimately is: which leg is your short one when you have symmetry issues.

I Really want to stabilize my pelvic region so i can get back into squats and dead lifts. I have a mild 8-10 degree scoliosis curve.

I had (still have to some degree) similar issue. It all began 10 years ago, 5 years ago it got to it’s worst (I couldn’t live a normal life anymore). I’ve been trying to improve my situation for last 4 years, decided to stop listenig to the doctors. The last year made all the difference, you’ll find what helped me below.

In my case symptoms were:

  • high hip on the right side
  • left shoulder higher
  • left posterior chain significantly weaker
  • left quad underdeveloped (especially just above the knee) + knee issues
  • left upper side overdeveloped (bigger and tighter lat + tighter trap)
  • left mid and lowr rhomboids very weak
  • left bicep and forearm weaker due to left lat taking over in compound movements
  • bazillion left shoulder, scapula and rotator cuffs issues
  • slight scoliosis

Honestly I don’t think that just legthening the short upper body side and short leg side will work in the long run - it may be the habitual position of the pelvis that is the source of the problem, and the situation may be a bit more complex than just shorter/longer.

What worked for me was:

  • started with regular soft tissue work several times a week
  • cleaned up my diet a little (still far from perfect), added omega-3s, improved my water intake - helped me with inflammation & pain
  • I performed a detailed self - diagnosis with assistance from losethebackpain.com guys
  • it revealed key issues - tight right quadratus lumborum (weak and flabby on the left side), tight left buttock, tight left hamstring, tight left hip flexors, weak left quad, tight left pec and shoulder
  • several months of targeted stretches and strengthening exercises relieved most of the pain issues
  • started Thib’s HPM program - great stuff, reduced my CNS fatigue issues what speeded up my overall healing process and allowed me to train reasonably hard + get stronger despite my problems were not 100% gone yet
  • added a lot of face pulls, neck pulls and mid and lower rhomboid work
  • there was an article about 2-second stretches recently - I started using this technique instead of static stretches (works much better for me)
  • another useful article was “bulletproof your body” - now I do QL, butt, ham and pec stretches only when I feel tightness (they got fairly OK by now) and concentrated on poor internal left hip rotation, tight left lat and left hip stability
  • recently added some warm-ups and finishers targeting quad areas just above the knee: narrow stance and feet slightly inward leg press and hack squat (couldn’t do these before due to pain)

Results so far:

  • all nerve - compression issues (numbness, shooting pains etc) gone completely
  • pain in the hip, butt, mid-back pain nearly gone (except situations like overtraining, long hours behind the wheel, lots of stress - even on these days 20 mins of stretches improves the situation greatly)
  • scoliosis gone on good days, on bad days it comes back when my left pelvis is sagging a little
  • left knee still hurts but now it’s operational
  • my squats and deads are totally ridiculous (130kg and 170kg) but steadily going up for last 4 months, I was stuck in the same place for over 4 years, I could barely train, now on better weeks I can do squats+deads on day 1 and day 2 + just squat on day 4 and just dead on day 5, the improvement is just stellar
  • I can clearly feel my pelvis is changing it’s habitual position, whole big chunks of muscle in my left leg, buttock and back get warm and I get this funny feeling that something that wasn’t working for years is now back alive again
  • my squat and dead stances have both improved, I feel much more voluntary control and can correct it when it doesn’t feel right
  • general energy levels, recovery, mood, confidence, sex drive etc. - simply different league

Sorry for kinda flooding you with information, but after years of struggling with these issues I feel that the whole picture is much more important than any single and simple quick fix. I takes some effort but it’s a happy effort, as you start feeling first real changes it keeps you motivated and new ideas pop into your mind. Last piece worth mentioning is probably the fact that around 5 years ago I’ve been told by several “specialists” that I can forget about squats and deads probably forever, some mentioned possible othopaedic collar in the future, some even wheelchair. Good luck mate:)

To quickly summarize: it may not be just long leg/short torso on the high hip side + short leg and long torso on the opposite side. In my case it was incorrect pelvis position mainly due to:

  • tight quadratus lumborum on the high hip side
  • tight hip flexors, ham + buttock on the opposite side, weak quad on the opposite side
  • weak posterior upper body on the opposite side + tight front upper body and lat on the opposite side

I would really advise to get a detailed diagnosis before you start targeted stretching/strenghtening because you may end up stretching weak spots and strengthening tight spots and making the whole thing worse.

this is a lot of food for thought, thanks man! So my low hip side is the “short leg”?

Also whats your take on heel lifts? I use one now and i look and feel more balanced, but now feel more unbalanced when not wearing it.

Also can you link me to thibs HPM program?

Generally yes, that’s what many say - low hip side is the “short leg” one. But to be honest I don’t feel comfortable making any general statements. It was in my case. Better consult a proper specialist, I’m light years away from being one.

What do you mean by heel lifts? Do you use some shoe insert on one side? If yes then I’ve heard many opinions that they’re bad. It makes you feel more balanced but in the long run it reinforces your general postural problem. But plz mind that I have never used it myself, that’s just what I’ve heard. If I’m guessing wrong please explain further.

Thib’s High Performance Mass is a whole series of articles starting with this one:

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/look_like_a_bodybuilder_perform_like_an_athlete?utm_source=weekly_dose&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tnation

You may want to check losethebackpain.com as well. I’m not associated with them in any way, it just helped me a lot at certain point. Detailed self-assesment pack with access to online personal advice cost me around hundred bucks - best money ever spent IMO. There’s plenty of free resources that may help you figure out if that’s what you really need before you splash any cash.

I am almost certain my pelvis misalignment was caused by wearing an orthodic piece my doctor gave me when i was 15, i am 20 now. I was a hardcore cross country runner and had a stress fracture that was healing,and to get back into action faster, i was prescribed an orthodic piece for my right foot to keep pressure off the fracture. so i ran hundreds of miles with uneven footing. it was during my growth spurts as well.

I will provide a counter argument on the subject of heel lifts

you mention

“It makes you feel more balanced but in the long run it reinforces your general postural problem.”

How does this make sense if having the heel lift puts you into a whole new posture, works your muscles in a more balanced fashion, and reinforces that new posture instead of the old one.

i believe maybe heel lifts are more potent then one may think, but also the potency is effect by our age

young normal body, maybe not perfect, but very symmetrical + Heel lift right foot = Raised right pelvis, scoliosis and non symmetrical musculature

I should mention that my family has no history of scoliosis or problems of these nature, so i believe it was environmental (the uneven footing from the heel lift) instead of genetics.

I understand your thought process, but asymmetrical body mechanics is already a degenerative thing on its own, especially for active people like ourselves. Our muscle imbalances become more and more pronounced as we do strenuous physical activity, with or without heel lifts. taking the heel lift out of the picture, your body is is still gonna intervene for you in its own destructive way to trick itself into thinking its in equilibrium.

In my case, my body intervened in its own way. hiking the shoulder, hiking the hip, the usual textbook stuff. but even in this form i still feel imbalanced

So wouldnt it make sense that since i have a raised right hip from that incident in cross country, a lift in the left could be more beneficial than not.

-It helps distribute weight more properly
+less wear and tear for the right side, which before would bare more weight

-with the lift in, i can feel my left leg (quads, glutes, shins) fatiguing since its not used to normal function, i always noticed my right side being the one sore at the end of the day before the lift.

-with the lift in, my slight rib protrusion from the scoliosis is pushed back slightly and less noticeable.

Something else to add is, i feel like you have to proactively work with your heel lift instead of passively forgetting about it. if you dont pay attention to your leg with the lift in it, you will find that your brain tells you to bend that knee slightly more than usual to achieve the same pelvic position it was at before the lift. reinforcing that poor posture.

I have no credibility on this subject other than i feel that A heel lift fucked with my body mechanics in the beginning, and maybe it can fuck the mechanics back into place ^^.

This was kinda a stream of thought. There are so many people that are for them, but then there are tons that are against it. My general practitioner and chiropractor were all for it, but then my orthopedic surgeon just said forget about it nothings gonna change you but surgery since ur mature, and since ur problem is not bad enough we cant help u.

I am almost certain my pelvis misalignment was caused by wearing an orthodic piece my doctor gave me when i was 15, i am 20 now. I was a hardcore cross country runner and had a stress fracture that was healing,and to get back into action faster, i was prescribed an orthodic piece for my right foot to keep pressure off the fracture. so i ran hundreds of miles with uneven footing. it was during my growth spurts as well.

I will provide a counter argument on the subject of heel lifts

you mention

“It makes you feel more balanced but in the long run it reinforces your general postural problem.”

How does this make sense if having the heel lift puts you into a whole new posture, works your muscles in a more balanced fashion, and reinforces that new posture instead of the old one.

i believe maybe heel lifts are more potent then one may think, but also the potency is effect by our age

young normal body, maybe not perfect, but very symmetrical + Heel lift right foot = Raised right pelvis, scoliosis and non symmetrical musculature

I should mention that my family has no history of scoliosis or problems of these nature, so i believe it was environmental (the uneven footing from the heel lift) instead of genetics.

I understand your thought process, but asymmetrical body mechanics is already a degenerative thing on its own, especially for active people like ourselves. Our muscle imbalances become more and more pronounced as we do strenuous physical activity, with or without heel lifts. taking the heel lift out of the picture, your body is is still gonna intervene for you in its own destructive way to trick itself into thinking its in equilibrium.

In my case, my body intervened in its own way. hiking the shoulder, hiking the hip, the usual textbook stuff. but even in this form i still feel imbalanced

So wouldnt it make sense that since i have a raised right hip from that incident in cross country, a lift in the left could be more beneficial than not.

-It helps distribute weight more properly
+less wear and tear for the right side, which before would bare more weight

-with the lift in, i can feel my left leg (quads, glutes, shins) fatiguing since its not used to normal function, i always noticed my right side being the one sore at the end of the day before the lift.

-with the lift in, my slight rib protrusion from the scoliosis is pushed back slightly and less noticeable.

Something else to add is, i feel like you have to proactively work with your heel lift instead of passively forgetting about it. if you dont pay attention to your leg with the lift in it, you will find that your brain tells you to bend that knee slightly more than usual to achieve the same pelvic position it was at before the lift. reinforcing that poor posture.

This was kinda a stream of thought. There are so many people that are for them, but then there are tons that are against it.

I feel that this is the place I should quit, because I’m simply venturing WAY beyond my knowledge and experience.

What I THINK is that if your stress fracture left you with one leg PHYSICALLY shorter (I mean a piece of bone removed or piece of bone added to the other leg) then instert makes some sense.

If the result of an accident is a raised hip because your recovery process was not conducted in a right way (leaving you with muscular imbalances and/or joint mobility issues) then the insert is causing more problems than it solves.

My own problem can be traced to a very old left ankle strain that didn’t properly heal. It left me with poor ankle mobility that was purely muscular problem. That is where it all started and could have been prevented right from the very beginning.

But as I said before - you would be better off if you had a chat with somebody who does that for a living and can take a professional responsibility for what he is saying. Good luck:)

My pelvis is definitely misaligned. The left side of my pelvis feels like it is in front of my right pelvis. The obvious symptoms are much tighter hip flexors on my left side and my lower back is less developed on my right compared to my left. Also, my left leg is underdeveloped compared to my right leg. Right upper body is more developed than left though. Any of you guys who have experience with this type of stuff give me some info here. Does this sound like one hip is higher than the other? If so, which side? Thanks

The stress fracture didnt cause a structural leg length difference. It was just a tiny crack on the outside of my right foot.

Sloth guy just look over what ironbreakers post says for stuff to do about it.

Ironbreaker, are there any specific key exersise movements that u felt really got the ball rolling for better symmetry and balance?

Hey man I have your exact symptoms and I really need a way to contact you quickly cuz Im in pain down my right leg and had this for 2 years now and I have taken an mri that says I have a bulging disc but compared to the ones I’ve seen I KNOW my pain has to be something else and BOOM I found you mentioning my exact problem

Hey man I really need your help I have EXACTLY what you mentioned happened to you, please get back to me I need to ask u some questions this nerve compression and hip socket pain is ruining my life

Go ahead. I’m a bit short on time and I will be for next 1-2 weeks but fire away, I’ll do my best…

My right hip is higher and my right leg shorter by 2mm

My name is Janner santisteban look for me on any media to talk just say iron breaker and I’ll know it’s u

Cool, but I’m not sure what do you expect from me. I don’t do social media, so if you have any questions please put them here in this topic, I’ll share my experience as well as I can.

Ok I have a question, my right leg is shorter and my right hip is higher, also I have sciatica that doesn’t go below the knee, I wanted to ask you where or how did you have your MRI reviewed online because I don’t think I have a bulging disc and I wanna make sure

I never had an MRI. All I had was an X ray. Most “specialists” I met over the years couldn’t see anything wrong with it but I managed to come across a physiotherapist who explained to me in details what was wrong with my spine (bad curvature, bad gaps between many vertebrae indicating problems with multiple discs, hips and shoulders crooked)

I had an assessment online done by guys from losethebackpain.com but this was based on movement patterns, range of motion and so on, there was no need for MRI or X ray assessment. As far as I remember they offer consultations so maybe you could talk to them.

And one more thing. Looking back from the perspective of all these years - start with your feet. Sure, get an opinion about your bulging disc, but whether it’s bulging or not - all you really want is your symptoms gone. And if your symptoms are so similar to mine - it’s very likely that the underlying reason is very similar as well. Look up “collapsed arch” and google some foot tests. It’s likely to speed up your recovery.

-I’ve been dealing with the same issues, and totally agree with Ironbreaker about the foot/collapsed arch being a big part of the problem.

I linked a few videos in this thread that helped me understand what was going on.

Also, walking around barefoot with ankle weights has really helped me “turn on” my feet and hips.

-Ironbreaker, are you “fixed” or do you still do much to maintain your arch/hip alignment?

I will do that thank you so much I do have a super high arch on my feet so that might contribute to my sciatic pain