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Question
Posted by: Sharon | 2008/06/05

Shortened Muscles

Hi doc I am a long distance runner and 50 yrs old female running for most 15yrs now, I have always had problems with very stiff muscles have had operations on calves for compartment syndrome, have orthoptics, have had so many treatments too many to mention but still suffer with very stiff muscles. I was diagnosed in January 2008 by mri scan with pinching (bulging) of nerve on L4 and L5 and that all my muscles are shortened especially the hip flexors. I have not done any running since January but on recommendation have done biokenetics and physio and also doing twice a day strengthening of my core muscles and stretching. Till now nothing seems to be working I have continuous pain escpecially when i sleep in my hips and buttocks, the buttock muscles go into spasm and most of the time feels like I am sitting or laying on lumps. Please advise me what to do, what can I do to stretch the hip flexors, as I think this is the main problem. I would like to run short distances again or even then comfortably race walking. I am desperate to be able to do some kind of excercises again.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Sharon

Difficult one, you've obviously been through a lot with all kinds of tests and exams, and I know how frustrating that can be, particularly when it doesn't help.

And unfortunately, I'm going to recommend that you see someone else. My advice is that you must get onto some kind of supervised stretching programme. Stretching by itself is not necessarily going to work, because you might not be stretching the right muscles in the right way. So while your perception si that the hip flexors are your main problem, it could well be that the source of the injury is somewhere else. Have you considered seeing a chiropractor about your back problem, and also the connections in the lower back, which could be mainly responsible for all this? That's one option. The second is to see a biokineticist again, but one who can help with stretching.

It's very difficult,if not impossible,for me to recommend anything considering how many people you've seen. My approach would be to see someone who you trust to help you and then consider giving them full reign for longer than you might have done before.

i realise that sounds a little like a sell out answer, but I think it's the best thing for you.

Good luck

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