Yes, you love your swing dancing, boot camps and kettlebell training that makes you look and feel vibrant. But don't ignore the subtle structural problems -- such as uneven leg length -- that can prevent you from doing what you love. Even though there is no pain and discomfort when you work out, having an uneven leg length can increase the risk of getting various physical problems, such as low back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, bladder problems and hip pain, according to Massage World. Stretching and moving your hip joints, spine and legs before and after you train can help you bring your body to better balance.
Supine Rack Stretch
Lay on the floor on your back with your legs slightly apart and your toes pointing up. Bring your arms over your head so that your biceps are near your eyes and your forearms and the back of your hands are on the floor.
Exhale slowly as you reach with your right hand away from your head with your hand still on the floor. Push your left foot away from your pelvis by flexing your toes toward your shin. The sensation should feel like someone is pulling your right arm and your left leg away from each other.
Inhale as you relax and switch limb position to stretch. Repeat the pattern 20 times for two to three sets. Synchronize your breathing with the subtle movement pattern.
Prone Rack Stretch
Lie on the floor on your stomach with your forehead on the floor. Place a small towel beneath your forehead to cushion it.
Put your legs slightly apart and put your arms over your head so that your biceps are near your ears and your palms and forearms are on the floor.
Exhale slowly as you reach away from your head with your right hand, and reach your left foot away from your hip.
Inhale as you relax and reach with the opposite limbs. The sensation should be similar to the supine rack stretch. Repeat the pattern 20 times for two to three sets. Synchronize your breathing with the subtle movement pattern.
Active Standing Hip Flexion Stretch
Stand with your feet together and step forward with your left foot about 2 feet in front of you. Adjust your feet so that your right foot is pointing to your left heel.
Shift your weight to your left foot slightly and bend your knees slightly. Raise your right arm overhead.
Tighten your right buttock slightly to increase the stretch in your right hip flexors. Hold the position for three seconds and shift your weight back so that the weight distribution is even on both feet.
Perform two sets of 10 to 20 reps on each hip.
- Pain-Free Program; Anthony Carey
- OrthoInfo.org: Limb Length Discrepancy
- Massage World: A Myofascial Approach – Resolving Leg Length Discrepancy and Pelvic Misalignment
- Arthritis Research & Therapy: Leg-length Inequality Is Not Associated With Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome.
- ExRx.net: Standing Hip Flexors Stretch
- Having uneven legs or pelvic misalignment doesn't always lead to pain or movement dysfunction. A study published in "Arthritis Research & Therapy" showed that among 1,482 subjects who qualified for the study, there is no evidence supporting that leg-length inequality is correlated to hip pain. Therefore, don't get too hung up or obsessed with correcting your uneven legs. An inch or two difference most likely won't cause major problems, according to physical therapist Tony Ingram.
- If you experience pain, check with your health-care provider before attempting any exercise.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.