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Uneven Turnout- where/how does it feel restricted?


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I just did a search on unqueal or uneven turnout and I got a lot of results. I am so relieved to find that it is normal!!


But something that none of the results mentioned was the way in which it is uneven?


For me I feel a restriction in my upper outer hamstrings. The restriction is in the muscles (or fascia), not the joint. It feels almost like my muscles are being wrung out like a washcloth- but just on the left side- the right side is fine.


Is that where/how everyone else feels that it is unequal? Or do some people feel it in the joint? Or maybe the groin? How does if feel uneven for you? I am so curious I would really appreciate responses.


Or, hopefully, this is the normal location to feel the restriction- in the muscles, at the upper outer hamstrings and a bit in the abductors?


thank you!

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I'm wondering if you have one leg longer than the other one, Serrée?

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In my experience, turnout restriction is a very individualised thing. I have seen everything from inner thighs, outer thighs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, TFL, joints, ligaments, hip capsule, muscles and just plain bad technique cause uneven turnout.


I don't really think there is a "normal" kind of turnout restriction in that there is no way that is common to all cases, however the most common muscluar restrictions tend to be in the external rotators and adductors. Luckily these are also the most easily remedied!

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Thank your for the replies :) Hmm, I have never felt it in the adductors, that is interesting. I have recently noticed now that my right TFL is huge and my left is relatively non existant. I wish I had have really examined myself when I started ballet so I would know when the differences came about.


I have been checked many times lately and I do not have a structural leg length discrepancy. But there is something going on- I just haven't been able to figure it out yet. I never realized I had unequal turnout until now. I used to catch myself leaving my left hip open when chasseing (en avant- simple at the barre from 5th to 4th) but my turnout always felt equal to me until recently- when I began doing it at home in front of the mirror. So I guess I was cheating before by not being square to the front. I am not sure though- hard to believe I would cheat that much. I just know that now it is unequal and my left leg feels quite wrong even standing in 1st with 45 degree turnout- twisted in the abductors and hamstrings- but muslces only.


I also saw a neat video on youtube- about tibial torsion-


It shows how someone with more tibial torsion on one leg will plie down at an angle towards that leg. I now think I have tibial torsion in one leg because if I stand square (with my legs feeling unequal turnout) and plie in that position, sure enough, I plie down sideways(my offest is less than in the video but definitely present). So before, I unknowingly rotated my hips (unsquared) in order to plie up and down in a nice vertical line- cheating again!


It makes me wonder what the right way is. Surely plieing down at an angle is not good either.........

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How does one figure out where the problem is? I've had so much trouble with my uneven turnout- my right hip goes about 180 and my left tp about 150. My left leg also has more hyperextension than my right so I can never get my left leg to straighten (or turn out much) when im in 5th with the left leg in front.

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For me I feel a restriction in my upper outer hamstrings. The restriction is in the muscles (or fascia), not the joint. It feels almost like my muscles are being wrung out like a washcloth- but just on the left side- the right side is fine.


thank you!


Serree, just to clarify, are you saying your left leg feels like it it being "wrung" in a clockwise direction? Have you ever had your SI joints checked for rotation? Leaving your left hip behind on a chasse would generally indicate either a tightness through the front of the left hip (TFL, psoas,hip flexors or even quads) or a lack on strength in the deep rotators on the right hand side allowing your supporting leg to swing inwards (turn in)


I'm not an expert in tibial torsion at all, but I'm not sure I would be jumping to that conclusion without elimitating other muscluar restrictions,, mainly because in my understanding it's a condition mainly presenting in childhood. If you have only started noticing your uneven turnout that wouldn't make a lot of sense, or has been very dormant for a very long time.


Spazzerina, the best way to get a turnout restriction assessed would be with a professional. If you can find a good PT they should be able to help.

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Thank you for answering Miss Persistent! Yes my left leg feels like it is being wrung out counterclockwise. As a matter of fact, I was just checked last week for SI joint rotation (well for a second time). This time they said my left illium is inflared and my right illium is outflared causing more anterior tilt on the left side and posterior tilt on the right side. So that makes sense- and the symptoms of this condition are less turnout on the inflared side and less internal rotation on the outflared side. These particular physios said that maybe half the population have this problem (I forget the actaul fraction they said but it was a very large nuber). Which would coincide with the numerous posts here talking about uneven turnout.


That was last week. Last month I finally went to a chiropractor for a series of about 10 visits. He said I was not evenly distributing my weight between legs. He said he was going to "rotate L5 on S1". Whatever he did, all my muscles became very loose in a way I have never experienced and then my back froze up and I ended up going to emergency- more out of fear than anything else. I don't think whatever he did was permanent. I only mention it because there seem to be 3 possible rotations, L5 on S1 (what the chiro thought- but the latest physios said that would cause huge back pain and is very rare), rotation of the sacrum itself (which apparently is not the same as S1 on L5- I don't understand why it is different) and then the rotation of each illium separately- which is what the physios say I have.


The latest physios who have diagnosed this inflare/outflare have given me exercises to do. They are not sure if my actual sacrum is rotated or just the illium on the sacrum. Gosh, what a learning experience for me. I have asked other physios about this diagnosis and it seems more "functional" physios don't put a lot of merit into anything to do with the sacrum (or even alignment for that matter). I asked one of these a couple of weeks ago about the tibial torsion and she said everyone has tibial torsion- and we moved on to other things, still though she has not looked at my bare legs. Maybe I don't have it at all. I know I am beginning to get exhausted over all of this.



Looking back I now know I was like this before ballet. There were a couple of subtle signs that I didn't pay attention to. I think I was rotated the whole time. And according to these latest physios, most people are. (which is mind boggling but like I say, I am burning out over this- just really tired of it all)


As for leaving my left hip behind- well it is really interesting now that I am taking a close look at my body. My Right TFL is huge! The left seems nonexistant.... But your idea about the right leg turning in- I bet you are correct. I just tried it and it seems to be the same reason why people tend to open their hips on a grand battement derriere- it's just harder to keep square- YES, you are correct!!! The right leg is loosing turnout! :)


Thank you very much for your feedback. At least I know that the chase problem is not an issue ;)


And Spazzerina- yes by all means seek professional attention. For me, I didn't realize how many differnt opinions there are out there amongst these people- it has turned into something much larger that I had initially thought. I mean, maybe for some people there will be simple obvious answers but that has not been the case for me.


Still I think it is worth the effort in the long run. I would start with ballet teachers because I think maybe most people (including physios) never try to turnout equally (ie just stand in first) so they don't pay attention to the issue. Everyone can turnout say 25 degress or whatever and they think that is enough and may go through their whole lives not thinking they have a problem until they get illiotibial band friction syndrome or start pronating on one foot or something. So I do think many physios may not understand so I would suggest to start with every single ballet teacher you know.

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Yes, these things can be very tiresome - but at least you're making progress!


To understand the rotation relationship, image your lumbar spine and sacrum and are kids building blocks for a minute...

You have a stack of blocks (vertebrae) but the bottom five blocks are nailed together ( sacrum & coccyx). These blocks can rotate clockwise or counter clockwise whilst stacked on top of each other, but the bottom ones can only rotate as a whole unit.


Those rotations are Independant (although sometimes related to) rotation of the Sacro Illaiac Joints. On each side, Your illiac crest at the back and pubis at the front form half a circle. They meet together at the front, and touch the sacrum at the back. If you join your two thumbs and two 2nd fingers together to make a circle, this is like your pelvis. In your real pelvis, if your right thumb equivalent (illiacus) was to move upwards, it would force the right forefinger downwards (pubis) and vice versa. It can also have the effect of forcing the left thumb (opposite illiacus) downwards, and hence the other pubis upwards. Remember the old "every action has an equal and opposite reaction"? Very true in your pelvis...


As for next steps, I would start trying to work out the underlying cause of the SIJ rotation. In dancers it can often be muscular particularly if you have developed an imbalance, or overworked a favourite side etc... if your are not working with a dance PT and need some places to start, I would look at hip flexors, psoas, quads and adductors for potential cause for an SIJ to be pulled forward. Although just to confuse things, you can also get tension build up there because of an SIJ rotation (chicken.... Egg....). Also get your ankles checked for restriction or pronation which can impact sometimes.

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Thank you Miss Peristant! Yes well, one foot pronates more than the other, that is what opened this whole can of worms but it just started doing this since I began ballet. So did the pelvis cause the pronation or the pronation cause the pelvis- like you said chicken/egg. And if the pelvis, what caused the pelvis? I noticed starting 3 years ago that my si joints would make little noises in yoga (triangle pose). Since all this has happened I have discovered that my spinal rotation is easier going to the right (it is much better now since I realized this- almost equal). So I think the traingle poses were causing the si joints to make noises because they were more flexible than my spine or hip external rotation- I don't know which.






Anyway, thank you very much for your input, I really appreciate it. I am not giving up. I asked a teacher about my si joint noises and she said that is fine as long as it doesn't get stuck. But even there, I have conflicting views. 1 physiotherapist also said it is fine but 2 others said it is not good at all and a massage therapist said that danncers si joints are usually looser than regular people's?



& btw, I discovered a way to see on oneself if they have tibial torsion- or at least when they plie, whether they descend with an offset: draw a line on the floor (or with masking tape) perpindicular to a wall mirror and plie in front of the mirror centering the groin over the line- if the groin stays on the image of the line as it decends, then there is no offset ! I did this and I do not have an offset- yay- one less problem :)


thanx you again :)

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Persist :) You'll get there (eventually)


Good luck!

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