If you’d like to know a simple way to self-check your hip, knee, ankle, and arch stability…and strengthen supporting muscles in just minutes a day…then today’s article will show you how. 

In fact, if you did little else than master this simple move, it could go a long way toward lessening any aches and pains you may be feeling in your lower body. It’s not foam rolling or stretching, it’s more activation-based, & it touches almost every important muscle for mobility and strength from your hips on down.

What is this “magic” exercise?

None other than the Single Leg Squat.

See, your ability to perform a single leg squat is a key indicator of your hip-thigh-knee-leg-arch joint stability.  I had a recreational soccer player (thanks for the stimulus Sam!) try this a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t as pretty as we’d hoped!  But we laughed through it and it was all good.  Point being, even if you’re athletic, the single leg squat will quickly expose any weak links in your kinetic chain.
Here’s a brief video tutorial (less than 2 minutes) on how to do one: https://youtu.be/RN6HkcKG-9A

The most important takeaways are:

1. Stand in front of a mirror so you can see your form.

2. Watch for your hips lilting to one side. 

That is a sign that your glute medius muscle isn’t as strong as it could be.  (Which can lead to issues for runners like me; both with the knees, and down to the arches.)

3. Keep your core tight and your posture as upright as possible. 

4. Shoes off is better.

5. Do as many reps for each leg as you can, even if only a few reps to start. 

Just make sure these are quality reps, i.e. no shaking or losing your stability.  Build up from there.  You should be able to get to 30 reps eventually.

Finally, pace yourself.

Make sure that you’re pushing through the heel and to the outside of your foot for optimal arch strength.

Well, there you have it…

A simple exercise you can do today to take control of the musculoskeletal health of your lower limbs.  Get this in order, and your hips, legs, knees, and arches will thank you for it! * Be aware you may experience some new soreness – here are two stretches to utilize AFTER you have done the exercise, or after you have been on your feet/walking: https://youtu.be/qZNGKzuUWyU & https://youtu.be/HtLCN2Z3CvQ.

Make sure you don’t perform these “cold”; I was reminded by a personal trainer that, “…sometimes when trying to stretch a tight muscle that has a knot in it, it’s like stretching a rope with it’s own knot. All you accomplish is tightening the knot…”

As always, if there are any questions I can answer (or if there’s anything else I can do to help), please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Dr. Josh