Can You Stand on One Leg?

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Single Leg Stance (SLS) is an often overlooked component of sports performance and injury.  The most basic functions of many sports, running, requires one foot to be off the ground at all times.  And even with daily walking one foot is off the ground most of the time.  If you are not solid in single leg stance, your body will have to make adjustments to deal with this which can reduce performance and lead to injury.  Yet, when I check clients SLS in the clinic many people joke about always having had bad balance and never being able to stand on one foot.  And many other people can manage SLS, but have to make many adjustments to stay balanced.

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Single Leg Stance is easy to check.  First stand on one leg and pick the opposite leg up until your thigh is parallel to the floor.  Keep your arms at your side and do not touch your opposite leg to your standing leg.  Try to hold this for 30 seconds.  You should be able to maintain stance without wobbling, raising your arms, or lowering your body height or dropping a hip (a full length mirror can help with this).  If that is no problem, then try it with your eyes closed.  Many of depend heavily on vision for balance and taking away your eyes will allow us to see how your body responds.  If you are solid eyes open and closed on both legs your single leg stance is clear.  If not you have an issue which could be leading to problems in single leg activities such as running, hiking, and walking or activities that require a weight shift such as golf.

Many different dysfunctions can lead to a poor SLS.  These include vestibular issues, hip and core strength issues, motor control problems, mobility issues in the ankle, hips and spine, and ankle strength or control issues. To correct a single leg stance issue efficiently the cause must be targeted.  Many people equate poor SLS with “bad balance”  and will train on wobble boards, BOSU balls or other balance devices.  But if the issue is something different like a hip strength deficit or vestibular problem these types of training will not be very effective.  A trained physical therapist or other healthcare professional can help identify where your issue is coming from and lead you in the right direction to changing it.  If you have any questions about single leg stance or need a PT too look at you give Ascent Physical Therapy a call in Avon, CO 970-949-9966 or Eagle, CO 970-328-1054.

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