Functional leg length discrepancy (laterally tilted pelvis) Functional leg length discrepancy (laterally tilted pelvis)

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Thread: Functional leg length discrepancy (laterally tilted pelvis)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Functional leg length discrepancy (laterally tilted pelvis)

    Hi Rip,

    The search function returns many threads about leg length discrepancies, and for an anatomical discrepancy your advice is always to shim. I couldn't find any information about functional discrepancies resulting from a laterally tilted pelvis and would like your opinion.

    Background: I am a 26-year-old male, 5'10", in good health with no injuries. I began lifting according to the SS model about 2 months ago at around 160 pounds with a 105 squat work weight. I am now 183 pounds and squatted 245 3x5 at my last workout. My athletic background consists of being a bad soccer player in high school.

    Shortly after I started squatting I noticed an asymmetry in my hips causing a lateral shift in the bottom of the squat. My left iliac crest typically sits about half an inch to an inch above my right one, causing a corresponding asymmetry in my legs. For example, my left kneecap sits higher than the right kneecap when I'm standing with my legs together. The asymmetry is worse the morning after a workout.

    I went to my family doctor, who confirmed the hip asymmetry. He measured my legs and did not find a skeletal asymmetry, so he referred me to a PT. The PT gave me some stretches to do. I did the stretches daily and my condition did not change.

    I then talked to a powerlifter in my gym, who showed me a trick: if I lie on my back with my knees in the air, put my fists between my knees, and squeeze them hard with my legs for a few seconds, I can sort of "pop" my pelvis back into place (roughly). This helps, though it does not completely fix the problem. But it allows me to squat without a gross asymmetry and I do it now before every workout. (He also confirmed by leveling my hips, putting me on my back and pulling my legs together that there is no skeletal asymmetry.)

    I am seeking a more permanent solution, since squatting still feels funny and I walk around the day after squatting feeling lopsided.

    The same powerlifter suggested getting Active Release Technique done on my hip musculature. This looks like a targeted massage with some bullshit justification about fascia and trigger points tacked on, so I am skeptical. But perhaps it would help.

    What are your thoughts on this? I'm getting frustrated that I can't figure out what the root problem is and how to fix it.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
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    38,851

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    Without measuring it myself, I don't know that you actually don't have a leg length discrepancy. Shim the "short" side when you squat next time, and see what happens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    I agree with Rip. Even if you don't have a "true" leg length discrepancy, if one of your legs is "functionally" shorter while you are lifting, it should be shimmed. In my experience, no amount of stretching or ART is going to fix your lateral pelvic tilt for any meaningful length of time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Thanks for both of your comments. I will have my legs remeasured, carefully.

    John, are you saying (if the discrepancy is entirely functional) that there is no long term fix, and that I should just work around it (shimming, etc.) as best as possible?

  5. #5
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    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    I believe that's what he said.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Long Island, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewStevens90 View Post
    Thanks for both of your comments. I will have my legs remeasured, carefully.

    John, are you saying (if the discrepancy is entirely functional) that there is no long term fix, and that I should just work around it (shimming, etc.) as best as possible?
    Yes. In my experience, while you may be able to level your pelvis temporarily through manipulations, the shift always returns so even though it is not a true LLD, from a training standpoint, it should be treated like one.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Olympia, WA
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    1,650

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewStevens90 View Post

    I then talked to a powerlifter in my gym, who showed me a trick: if I lie on my back with my knees in the air, put my fists between my knees, and squeeze them hard with my legs for a few seconds, I can sort of "pop" my pelvis back into place (roughly). This helps, though it does not completely fix the problem. But it allows me to squat without a gross asymmetry and I do it now before every workout. (He also confirmed by leveling my hips, putting me on my back and pulling my legs together that there is no skeletal asymmetry.)

    I am seeking a more permanent solution, since squatting still feels funny and I walk around the day after squatting feeling lopsided.
    You are describing a technique in which Osteopaths / PT / Chiropractors manually adjust the pubic symphysis. It "sort of helps" because it manually adjusts one joint out of the three that make up the pelvic ring. Should you find yourself in the hands of a skilled manual therapist who adjusts the two SI joints and then the pubic symphysis, then you follow it up with wearing your lifting belt a bit lower than you are used too, you indeed may find the solution you are seeking.

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