Saving the World... One Squat at a Time

Lily's Lifetime of Pain

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My friend Lily is one of the most lively and positive people I've ever met. You would never know that she spent the better part of her life suffering from chronic, debilitating sciatica nerve pain. Despite how much pain she felt, she tried her best to stay active, frequently going to fitness classes, (including trampoline jumping), and never let it prevent her from trying new things. When she first started working with me, I was shocked by how limited the range of motion in her shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles were. I had no idea that all this time, every activity she did, caused her a lot of pain, and she simply sucked it up. She had been doing this since elementary school!

Realizing this was rather serious, I immediately had her begin a routine of foam rolling the piriformis, hip adductors, and quadriceps, and stretching the anterior hip flexors on a daily basis. I  also sent her off to a top notch massage therapist to release some of that deeply bound down tissue. I noticed that it was incredibly difficult for her to externally rotate her femur, and she walked in a pigeon-toed fashion. I began training her to perform motions where she had to stretch her inner thighs and strengthen her outer glutes. The massage therapist said, "She's pretty messed up! You're gonna have to train her how to walk," so I put her on the treadmill and taught her to walk by aligning her hips with her knees and toes, and emphasized planting softer on the heel rather than slamming down with a fully extended leg.

Eventually, through a partnership with Performance Health, I had her get an evaluation with a sports medicine doctor. After years of getting nowhere with every medical specialist her parents took her to, Lily finally found an answer. She has hip anteversion! Basically, her hips are formed in a way that limits her ability to abduct and externally rotate her legs. Seeing how what we were already doing was working pretty well, we stuck to the plan, and after about three months of consistent training and massage therapy, Lily no longer experienced pain getting out of bed in the morning, and would only feel some slight pain on days when she sat a lot.
Now, this 4'10", 88lb little firecracker is deadlifting 65lbs with those anteverted hips!

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I think Lily's story is a perfect example of how our bodies, regardless of what limitations it has, will always find a way to work.

On a separate note, I suspect that Lily's hip pathology originated from being stuck in a chair all day in school. Beginning from an early age, given how vulnerable her hips were, it was only a matter of time before movement dysfunctions occurred.

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