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Sports Medicine

Massage

12/08/2008

Question:

I have been having pain and stiffness in my lower back and my doctor sent me to a massage therapist. She said that my glutes were very tight and might be what is causing my feet to turn out. Can you explain how tight glutes might cause my feet to turn out and if that muscle relaxes could my feet turn to the right direction because I also have RA bad in my hips that I thought was turning my feet out?

Answer:

The physician who treats your RA should be able to answer this question, since it would be based on results of your physical examination, and possibly results from X-rays of your hips.

"Tight glutes" may mean a number of things. Some of the gluteal muscles externally rotate your hip, whereas other gluteal muscles internally rotate your hip. If there is no imbalance in the respective lengths of these various gluteal muscles - and if your hip joints are normal, which you state is not the case for you - your hips would be at a "neutral" position - which would mean neither excessively externally rotated nor excessively internally rotated. If whichever muscles that are "tight" can be stretched out or "loosened", and if as a result your feet can more easily turn inward, then this muscle tightness could have been at least a contributing factor.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University