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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:37 PM   #1
darksquid
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Default Dealing with weakness/dysfunction in one leg

Hi all,

I've been playing derby since last year, but have been off with a knee injury since June. I'm hoping to be back to fighting fit soon, so I'm wondering if you guys can help me with an issue that's been bugging me since I started skating.

My left leg has always been VERY weak, and I have always found it difficult to do things like skating on my left foot alone, or lateral skating to the left, leading with my left foot - it's very hard for me to put weight on it while opening my hip and turning my foot. This was a problem for me even before my injury when I was at my peak of fitness. I can turn on a dime to the right, but literally cannot make my left leg do what I want it to do to make sharp turns to the left. I've got very short DA45 setups on both my sets of skates, with very soft cusions.

I have very flat feet - my left foot is worse - and have always suffered from shin splints, general knee and hip pain as a result. My pronation is mostly controlled in street shoes with custom orthotics, but I can't wear them in my skates, so have been making do with Shock Doctor hockey insoles. I've been seeing a physiotherapist about my knee injury, and he mentioned that my left leg is pretty severely dysfuntional, not just at the foot, but all the way to my hip - my left glute is very lazy, and my whole left leg/knee rotates inward (I've recently found out that I wore a brace when I was a toddler to straighten my left leg!). He's given me loads of exercises to do to wake up my left butt muscle and to encourage it to do its job supporting my leg properly, and I have been doing these religiously. However, I have been doing a bit of gentle skating over the past few weeks, and I find that my left leg funtion hasn't improved to any discernable degree.

Now that I know that this is an actual physical dysfunction, rather than just a matter of having wearker left-side muscles/favouring my right leg, I would like to know if there's anything I can be doing to fix this, or am I stuck with it? In particular, I'm concerned about being able to open up my left hip while putting weight on it - it just doesn't seem to be happening. I am very flexible, I can do the splits, and can skate heel to heel with my skates at a perfect open angle, so my flexibility doesn't seem to be the problem here.

Help, I feel like Zoolander - I can't turn left
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 08:46 PM   #2
chaos4ever
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The gluteus maximus is one of the major muscles that rotate your leg outward and opens up that angle. Whatever caused this the problem, one can only guess, without a professional opinion. I think it's still worth keeping at the PT and leg exercises, as they are the easiest, cheapest, and most gentle way to fix musculoskeletal imbalances.

I'm tempted to ask about your gait and all that good stuff, but I'll just leave my response to this.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 10:14 PM   #3
darksquid
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Thanks for your reply. I do feel I have benefited from the PT, as I feel more strength and balance in my left leg - but it's the weight-bearing/turning that still isn't happening. I have no intention of stopping, as I can only trust that my physio knows his stuff! He's got no knowledge of skating, though, which is why I felt I might get a bit more advice here.

My gait isn't too bad now that I have reasonable correction with my orthotics. However, I still get shin splints and hip pain, even though I have stopped the forbidden running, so something is still not working properly, I guess.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 11:56 PM   #4
Hot Lips
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darksquid View Post
I have very flat feet - my left foot is worse - and have always suffered from shin splints, general knee and hip pain as a result. My pronation is mostly controlled in street shoes with custom orthotics, but I can't wear them in my skates, so have been making do with Shock Doctor hockey insoles.
Orthotics that'll fit in your skates might be an option - albeit not a cheap fix: see here.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 12:49 AM   #5
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I couldn't skate a mile without my RX orthotics. I couldn't walk one either. I have collapsed arches in both feet. They are a life saver to me. I just got a second pair and am waiting for the fight with my insurance company. My next skates will be designed to accommodate the orthotic, Bont has already said they do this routinely.

Stick with a pro like PT, beware of trainers or anything like that, you have unique needs. You might want to see if you can get more information from when you were younger about being braced. This might take some time but you sound like like you have a great attitude, so have fun on the trip!
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 09:49 AM   #6
darksquid
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Hot Lips, I've been following that thread quite keenly, thanks. If only Rebecca was making amazing skate-fitting orthotics already! And PBLSQuad, it's good to know Bont will make a boot to accomodate orthotics - I will consider them for my next skates.

However, I'm unsure if this problem can be helped with my orthotics - I was able to wear them in my first pair of R3s, and didn't notice any difference in the performance or function of my left leg when I upgraded to better skates that didn't accomodate them. But I suppose any difference in function might have been masked by the fact that I was going from a ridiculously unturny plate to one that actually turns when it should.

It stands to reason that the orthotics will place my leg in a more neutral position to begin with, making it easier to turn my leg outwards. Without the orthotics, I imagine my glutes are having to work extra hard to shift my leg from its turned-in position.

Stuff to think about. Thanks...
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