Imbalanced Standing Posture

As mentioned in May’s post, it is possible to have as bad or worse posture while standing as sitting:

“It is important to remember that you can have bad posture standing as well as sitting. When standing, strive to keep your weight distributed equally on both feet and keep your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle in alignment. (If you were to connect the dots of your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle from a side view, it would make a straight vertical line.)”

A common bad standing habit is that of shifting weight more to one foot/leg than the other, most often with hips pushed out on the same side. Generally people are aware of this if they stop to think about it. Shifting weight to one leg can have disastrous consequences on body biomechanics. If done often enough, changes in muscles, ligaments and tendons can occur so that it “feels normal” until such time as it becomes painful. At which point people generally say with surprise, “but I’ve done this for years and I’ve never had pain before!” If you have the standing on one leg habit, one way to see if your body has adapted is to try standing in that position with your weight more on the opposite leg. Since many people habitually favor the same side, changing sides often feels awkward and uncomfortable. If this is you, it is important to get that habit changed and weight distributed evenly on both feet ASAP!

Frequently this weight over one leg habit begins with an injury to a leg and keeping weight less on (or off completely) while the injury heals. However, often that habit persists after recovery from the injury. If you have had a significant leg injury, check your standing posture for the above mentioned imbalance.

One way to catch even subtle differences in weight bearing balance is to get two scales and stand with one foot centered on each scale. It is important to feel as balanced as possible on the scales and to keep the head up and eyes forward. Looking down at the scales, shifts the weight balance, so it is important to have someone else actually record the numbers on the scales. This is not really necessary, but it is interesting!!

Once again, awareness is key…catching yourself in unbalanced postures and correcting them as much as possible can lead to more balanced habits!