Injured Professional Surfer

by Kevin

I am a professional surfer from France and I have been injured for a total of 29 months since I pulled something during a surfing session. Since that day it slowly got worse and tighter in the hip and groin area etc.

Iliopsoas Syndrome: The Hidden Root of Pain sounds spot on.

Today I have found your info/website on the internet and from what I have read it sounds down right correct. I am experiencing all of the above symptoms and it's not getting better. I have tried resting, stretching, and I have seen a dozen doctors, done x-rays, mri scans etc. And everyone seems to be just as confused as I am because it's not getting better.

Please can you advise me and point me in some sort of direction of well being?

I will continue investigating your website which I have found 100 percent interesting and I am so glad I found it.

I hope you can help.

Kevin Olsen

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Dec 31, 2011
Possible Strained Iliopsoas
by: Stephen of Lower Back Pain Answers

Greetings Kevin,

I think there's a good chance you're suffering from a strained or locked long iliopsoas, though without evaluating you it's hard to know for sure.

If there's a torque in your pelvis (one side torquing forward, one side torquing backward, for example) causing a functional leg-length discrepancy, then one iliopsoas will be locked long, and one locked short.

The locked long side cannot relax because it is chronically being pulled apart like a rubber band that's on a constant stretch. That leads to pain and eventually that muscle, like a weakening/fraying rubber band, will fail.

If this is the case, if the painful side is, indeed the painful side, then stretching that muscle will not work because it is already overstretched. In fact, stretching can aggravate the muscle. No, the two ends of the muscle need to be brought closer together...

This type of problem will require a 2-part treatment:

1) Correction of the torque to bring your pelvis into balance so that there's no leg-length discrepancy.

2) Direct gentle but detailed treatment of the affected iliopsoas. Recall that this is actually 2 muscles, the psoas and iliacus. Often it's the iliacus portion which becomes dysfunctional but both must be checked.

This 2-part treatment, which should occur in the same treatment session (unless the practitioner is not skilled in both) will likely need to be repeated at least once per week for 6-8 weeks, though I often see improvements sooner than that.

I have included at Lower Back Pain Answers a protocol for manual therapy here...

Also, you might try stretching the OPPOSITE (non-painful) iliopsoas using the stretch in the first video on this page for hip flexors...

Or the same video is available at You Tube if that's preferable...

Stretching the OPPOSITE (non-painful) iliopsoas can encourage the pelvis into proper balance.

I hope that's helpful!


Stephen at LBPA

Dec 31, 2011
Thanks for Getting Back to Me
by: Anonymous

Thanks for getting back to me with regards to my problem/issue.

Here is my history which could help us - I was involved in a terrible car accident about 15 years ago. We were T boned at 80 kmph and the left side of the van was completely smashed.

I broke the left femur (just below the hip) and they inserted a 32cm pin. I also suffered a fractured pelvis and a ruptured bladder.

Today I find 80 percent of the problems on the right side abdomen/hip.

For me, it's been a tough road to recovery but I am still positive about returning to normality. I am 100 percent committed to finding a better solution than just coping with it.

This pain has changed my life for the better. I have improved my diet and increased my overall fitness by doing more yoga (daily) and light training exercises (core) then surfing. Finding a balance is my number one priority.

I am going to study your email, watch the available videos on your site and then contact my health practitioner in the new year for more hands-on advice. I believe he is the best person in the area (South West of France) and he already has history and knowledge of my injury.

I will keep you posted and if you have any other suggestions please feel free to let me know - any information helps.

Thanks again, Stephen


Dec 31, 2011
Likely Iliacus Dysfunction
by: Stephen of Lower Back Pain Answers


The injury you describe and the subsequent treatment (insertion of pin) make it very likely that one or both iliacus muscles are ischemic (poor blood flow) and dysfunctional, meaning chronically tight with possible myofascial trigger points. If so, this can then cause compensatory patterns in other muscles in your body.

I hope to soon produce a video of demonstrating release techniques for the iliacus and psoas muscles.

But in the meantime perhaps your health practitioner might be able to take advantage of the instructions I provide here...

Also, I would be careful with stretching the painful side doing the hip flexor stretch I provide in the video. If stretching the painful side kind of feels good but ultimately worsens the pain, then chances are good that the hip flexors are STRAINED on that side and DO NOT WANT TO BE STRETCHED FURTHER!

Do not be seduced by the "no pain, no gain" mentality. It has no application in treating chronic pain patterns.

All right, I hope that helps. Please let me know how you make out.


Stephen at LBPA

Dec 31, 2011
Thanks for your input and concern
by: Kevin

I am so interested in repairing this issue - it changed my life and my way of life.

In the past couple years i worked hard 6-7 days a week , surfed harder and then this started. Since realizing that this injury wasn't going away I stopped the surf school / surf camp, began yoga and started surfboard shaping - it's more relaxing and less physical on the body.

Even though I have the injury which I regard as 'complicated' it's encouraged me to stay active, to drink more water, no big nights out and keep to a daily exercise routine (diet included) which has helped me manage this complication for the long-term.

Anyway, I started the stretch against the chair 2 days ago and yes I can feel it lightly stretches the affected areas being, both sides above the hip area - Iliacus and the Psoas on the right side
I am not pushing it.

Therefore I find the discomfort, pulling and pulling moves daily, but since finding your website I believe i can now better manage my injury by understanding the injury , trigger points etc....

Thanks for your input and concern.

I need to keep this machine moving

Kevin Olsen

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Stephen O'Dwyer, cnmt

Neuromuscular Therapist & Pain Relief Researcher

Stephen O'Dwyer, CNMT


Lower Back Pain Answers

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