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Old 03-18-2011, 08:49 PM   #54
Steven Low
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: silver spring  maryland
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Re: Possible cause for foot turned outwards (Steven Low please read).

Er, I think you have some of that backwards.

Sitting cross legged or with knees splayed outwards is external rotation of the hip. Glutes, piriformis, even psoas are external rotators of the hip. When you externally rotate the hips you put these muscles into a shortened range of motion. Over time, these muscles adapt to the position and actively shorten and get hypertonic/tight.

Glutes are the exception because they get weaker because even with the external rotation when you're sitting they're actually in a more lengthened position so they become weak/inactive and enlongated.

So when you internally rotate your hip you're actually stretching your hip external rotators (glutes, piriformis, possibly psoas if its really tight).

This is why I never liked piriformis stretch where you externally rotate the hip and pull it to your chest. You're deluded into thinking that external rotation is stretching the piriforimis but it's not. What really stretches it is when you pull your knee to your chest. Even though the hip is externally rotated when you pull the hip up that far you will lengthen it enough to get the stretch.

This is why I like the hip internal rotation stretch better for piriformis because you can hang out it in longer without too much effort or you can use a table about waist height and put the inside of your leg on it and stretch it that way as well.

To answer the question in your last paragraph the fact that the right leg "comes up" into flexion is already answered in the above post. Try to figure it out before going to the next paragraph.

Use mouse to highlight for answer: Remember that the psoas muscle is an external rotator of the hip. So when you internally rotate the hip, you're lengthening the psoas major muscle. Thus, when you hit the limits of your psoas muscle length, your leg cannot rotate further internally. Thus to keep rotating internally your hip will flex to shorten your psoas muscle so that you can keep rotating.

This indicates that your right psoas is much shorter than your left.... which we already know (mainly because you told us that it was the problematic tight one.

So basically this is telling you that your right psoas still a tightness problem that needs to be fixed.
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