Side leg lifts—why do they hurt?

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    Side leg lifts—why do they hurt?

    I'm a 53-year-old woman. I've exercised off and on for 25+ years. I've never been very flexible. I took a ballet class in my 30s and while all the other students stretched their legs at the barre, the teacher had me sit on the floor to stretch!

    Doing Foundation and now 90 Days of Action, I'm noticing that side leg lifts are really hard for me. Today, trying to hold my leg up and to the side for 10 seconds, I realized that it really hurt—not just like it feels when I am stretching a bit past what is comfortable, but sharper and stronger.

    I don't quite understand it—I raise my leg and everything seems fine for the first second or two, and then it hurts. Is that just my muscle not wanting to hold the leg up? It comes in more quickly and sharper than I would expect muscle tiredness to appear, and also the feeling is more of a pinpoint than I would expect.

    It's bilateral, so it doesn't seem to be an injury. And the feeling doesn't persist once I lower my leg.

    I'm not terribly concerned, and I assume that I should just keep at it, but I'm wondering what is going on. Any thoughts?

    #2
    GoingStrong where is the pain you feel located?

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      #3
      Good question! Right on the side of my leg, just where my leg joins my torso—so upper thigh, lower hip area. Very pinpointed.

      At least, that's where I remember it being. When I try to find it this morning, it's not really there. So I'm diagnosing it as a sort of pain that comes when I haven't ever really used a muscle and then use it hard!

      This is one of the reasons that I like DareBee. The variety means that my body is constantly finding new challenges.

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        #4
        GoingStrong I am sorry I am only getting back to this. You didn't tag me so it didn't show up on my notifications - Thank you for answering this. If the pain is on the outside of your leg, the part where the thigh joins your hip then it is the hip flexor tendons that are hurting. A good sign as they then get stronger. If it is on the inside of the leg, the part near the groin area then it is the adductor (the inner thing muscle/tendon combination that joins the leg to the pelvis). This is probably more of a flexibility issue then than a strength one with this particular movement. Again it is a case of persevering. In either case, it is really nothing to worry about and you are right, Darebee workouts are always a challenge to be met and a small victory to be gained. I hope this helps.

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          #5
          GoingStrong, how high do you lift your leg to the side? Does it hurt in the same place if you don't go to the maximum of your range of motion? I'm wondering if this is a structural issue. If you are raising the leg close to 80-90 degrees like in the pictures and there's a sharp pain in the joint, there could be bone on bone contact or impingement of the joint capsule, more so if it's bilateral. Hip joints vary greatly among individuals - some have shallow sockets placed more to the side of the body - this allows them to lift the leg very high without contact with other structures. Meanwhile, some people have deep sockets, placed more in the front which decreases ROM to the side (and there is a myriad of other factors like the length of the femur neck etc.). I would play with different leg heights to see if there's a difference - if it hurts all the same, then it's probably muscular and you work on strengthening leg abductors. If you only feel pain at the end of ROM, then I would suggest lifting the leg lower, to the point where you don't feel any sharp pain and keeping the leg there - continuously aggravating the joint with compression of the soft tissues could lead to inflammation.

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