You’ve probably seen a hockey player or two with bow legs before. In fact, you probably see it quite often in hockey players. It’s one of the most common posture problems in hockey players as well as other athletes who spend a lot of time on their knees such as baseball pitchers and cricket fielders. But why is there so much of this phenomenon among hockey players? Why are so many of them bow legged?
Luckily, having bow legs won’t affect your performance on the ice but it can have some negative effects if left untreated. Let’s take a look at why so many hockey players are bow legged and what we can do about it.
Why Do Hockey Players Have Bow Legs?
Bow legs are caused by uneven leg length. This is often the result of one leg being shorter than the other. In rare cases, both legs may be the same length but the person’s pelvis may be tilted. This can also cause uneven leg length and lead to bowlegs. People with bow legs will walk with their knees bent, resulting in an awkward gait that is typically slower than normal. Bow legs are often accompanied by knock knees, which is when the knees touch when the legs are straight. While bow legs can affect people of all ages and genders, they are most common among athletes who spend a lot of time on their knees. In general, hockey is a sport that can lead to bow legs.
What Causes Bow Legs In Hockey Players?
As we mentioned before, bow legs are caused by uneven leg length. When one leg is slightly shorter than the other, the person will walk with a slight limp where the shorter leg is bent. In hockey players, however, bow legs are extremely common. The reason for this is that hockey players spend a lot of time on their knees, which is when bow legs are most noticeable. If one leg is slightly shorter than the other, the shorter leg will be bent and resting on the ice, resulting in a bow leg posture.
How Can You Tell If Someone Has Bow Legs?
If you’re worried that you or someone you know has bow legs, you can check for several signs and symptoms. If one leg is bent while the other is straight, bow legs are a sign that the legs aren’t the same length. Bow legs are more apparent when a person is kneeling or crouched, but they may also be visible when a person is standing. Bow legs are typically more obvious in younger people who have yet to fully grow, so if you’re worried about a young athlete, don’t be alarmed if the bow legs go away as they age. Another sign to look for is knock knees. If one leg is slightly shorter than the other, the knee on the short side will be bent. When both knees are bent, they will touch, forming a “knock” where they touch. Finally, a limp or a very slow walking gait is a sign that a person has bow legs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bow Legs?
Bow legs: As mentioned, having bow legs means that one leg is shorter than the other. This can cause pain and discomfort in the knees, ankles, and back.
Knock knees: having knock knees means that the knees bow inwards when they are straight. This is often a result of bow legs.
Back pain: Bow legs can cause back pain because of the way they alter the way the knees, ankles, and back interact with one another.
Pain in the knees: The uneven pressure on the knees caused by bow legs can lead to pain and discomfort in the knees.
Ankle pain: Bow legs can also cause pain and discomfort in the ankles because of the uneven pressure.
Reduced mobility: As bow legs can lead to pain and discomfort in the ankles, knees, and back.
Reduced speed: Bow legs can reduce the speed an athlete can skate at.
Reduced jump height: Bow legs can lead to a reduction in the height an athlete can jump at.
Reduced running speed: Bow legs can reduce the speed an athlete can run at.
Reduced running distance: Bow legs can reduce the distance an athlete can run.
How Can You Fix This Problem?
You can correct bow legs by stretching out the muscles that have become shorter while growing out the ones that have grown too long. This will help to even out the lengths of the muscles in the legs and help to correct the bow-legged posture. One exercise you can do to stretch out the muscles and help to correct bow legs is the standing one-leg hamstring stretch. To do this, stand on one leg and place the other leg in front of you. You should feel the muscles working in your hamstring. Be careful not to bend forward as this will put too much stress on the knee. Hold this stretch for a few seconds, then switch legs and do the other one. Another useful exercise is the wall squat. To do this, stand facing the wall with your feet about a foot away. Bend your knees and push your hips until they’re at 90 degrees. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Bow legs are fairly common in hockey players due to the amount of time they spend on their knees. Fortunately, bow legs are very easy to correct with the help of a physical therapist or doctor. If you notice any signs or symptoms of bow legs in yourself or an athlete you know, you should get it checked out by a professional.