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Tightness in one hip?

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  • Tightness in one hip?

    Let me first say, that I feel very fortunate to be as healthy as I am. When I read some of the posts from those of you that have severe disabilities I almost think I shouldn't even be posting on this Forum. That said, I do have a question re tight hips. I am a dressage rider. My lumbo-sacral area is deformed, giving me a 6th lumbar vertebra that is fused on the left side and open on the right side. This makes my pelvis unlevel. If I wear a 1/2" lift in my right shoe my "hip bones" are level when I stand.

    So, my left leg is weaker than my right leg. I am tight in my right hip and my right leg is stronger. The leg length discrepancy/unlevel hips was discovered in PT about 5 years ago. I am in my mid 50's so I've been crooked for most of my life. The shorter my stirrups, the more my hips push off to the right.

    As a dressage rider my question is this: What can I do to help loosen my tight right side? I have a just started 3 year old dressage prospect and want to be as symmetrical as I can for her sake. Riding with a stronger right leg is going to make her crooked, unresponsive to my right leg and unable to yield to my left leg due to the restrictiveness of the right one. If any one can give me advice or has experienced the same problem and has exercises or a solution I would love your advice/input. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Well, if your tightness is just tight muscles (vs. a hidden injury that needs treatment), then start by giving yourself a thorough, 'deep' massage in that area and the entire upper thigh, low abdomen, glutes area. Or, have someone do it for you. That will help loosen muscle more than anything. Plan to do this for many months, until your muscles take on a new habit of being looser, and for many months after that, b/c hip muscles in riding, IMO, just tend to get tight anyway.

    Just to reinforce being straight, look into how you carry yourself off the horse, in your regular life and strive to make yourself as even/symmetrical as you can in everything you do. Use any lines on the floor to help you line up; check that your navel is pointed directly ahead and, if not, adjust yourself until it is. That may be an eye-opener. If anything, working on this increases empathy for the struggle horses go through in learning!

    Just sitting on a hard floor with your back against something solid (wall; couch) and sitting Indian style, first with your normal leg arrangement and then do the un-normal one for yourself, can show you a lot and also help with the stretch.

    Yoga has a lot of hip opener stretches, too.

    Just keep massaging the muscles. And, btw, everyone has the same 'problem' of asymmetry and strong/weak/tight, it's just a matter of awareness (and yes, the degree of tightness can be different amongst us riders!)

    Taking magnesium and reading Mary Wanless, too, can help keep muscles loose.


    • #3
      MDC Stirrups

      Try a pair of MDC Stirrups. They are guaranteed, so if they don't help, you can return them.

      The top allows your hips, knees and ankles relief in the vertical plane and that just might allow your hip to be more free, relaxed and comfortable.

      You have nothing to lose.

      My students and I swear by them.

      Good luck.


      • #4
        Also - try the FITS breeches shims.

        I've been crooked my whole life, too, and my PT looked at my post THR x-rays and said that my pelvis was unsymmetrical way beyond the norm.

        I always carry my right seatbone back and have trouble advancing it. The right leg is way stronger than the left.

        I bought a set of the shims and used doublestick carpet tape to put them on the underside of a seat saver. It's working great!