Recently we have had a couple of people coming into clinic that have had trouble walking saying that one of their legs seems to get left behind and seems to drag. They also both commented that the leg at times felt heavy or 'dead' and one had been experiencing neural like referral into that leg.
The muscle that is primarily responsible for swinging the leg through when we are walking is the psoas. The psoas attaches to the transverse processes of our vertebrae from T12 to L5, runs through our hip and then attaches to the inside of our leg at the top of our groin. Because of the size and location of this muscle it plays a major role in spinal stabilisation as well as hip flexion.
Due to its location the psoas has a bunch of nerves that run through it that it can irritate if it gets 'tight' due to it being dysfunctional. These nerves include the genito-femoral, the femoral, the obdurator, the lateral femoral-cutaneous, and the ilio-inguinal. So these nerves not only supply sensation around the genital area but also innervate a lot of muscles in the anterior thigh including the pectineus, sartorius, iliacus, and the quadriceps. As well as adductor magnus, longus, brevis, the gracilis and the obdurator externus. Quite a few.
The psoas is also attached to your diaphragm and can play a role in how efficiently and effectively we breathe. So it's pretty important that this muscle is kept as happy as possible.
When a muscle causes nerve irritation then this will likely result an increase in muscular tension in most of if not all the muscles that it innervates, as well as likely creating dysfunction in each of those muscles neural availability.
In both of these cases we have found that restoring proper function, (not strength, function) to their problematic psoas muscles has massively decreased their problem and put them on the road to getting back to functioning optimally. Particularly when nerve irritation is involved it is vitally important to determine WHY the psoas is tight and causing these symptoms. Please do not go straight ahead and release the psoas as this may make the problem worse. Instead get assessed by a professional that is familiar with testing for muscle function.
If this sounds like you or you know someone that has this problem then get in contact with us to see if we can help. If you do not live in the north east but want to find someone to help then get in contact and we should be able to point you towards someone in your area with appropriate training.