The Healthy: Four Signs You Have a Muscle Imbalance
Baseball pitchers, soccer players and other athletes rely heavily on their dominant arm or leg, which becomes stronger than the limb on the other side of their body. Elite athletes, and even ordinary gym goers, also can have muscle imbalances around a single joint.
“An example of this would be if a person is excessively strong in the quadriceps muscles versus the hamstring muscles in the leg,” Yoon told The Healthy. “With repetitive walking, jogging, or running, excessive muscle strength in the front of the leg can lead to excessive force or load on the front of the knee.”
When muscles on one side of a joint or the body are stronger than those on the other side, movement patterns are thrown out of whack. “It can put additional stress on different parts of the body during activity, potentially causing injury,” Yoon said.
Warning signs of a muscle imbalance include:
- Training in only one sport or targeting only one muscle group
- Poor posture
- Noticeable difference in strength, flexibility or balance on one side of the body versus the other side
- Pain is not connected to a specific injury
Yoon recommended that anyone noticing these signs and experiencing pain or movement limitations that interfere with daily life seek the advice of a physical therapist, kinesiotherapist or orthopedist.
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