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Scenario:

I'm standing up straight, trying to raise one knee up in front of me, like I'm marching.

Problem:

I can't raise it up even to 90 degrees. See photo below. Ordinarily if my mobility is limited, I can feel that a certain muscle isn't flexible enough. For instance if I try to bend way forward I'm limited by inflexible hamstrings. However, in this scenario I don't feel any muscle being stretched. It actually feels like my hip flexors are bunched up like a squashed slinky, and the reason I can't raise my leg any more is that I can't contract my hip flexors any more.

Question:

Does anyone have any insight into why I can't raise it further, given the circumstances I described?

enter image description here

UPDATE

To clarify what I mean about my hip flexors feeling "bunched up", see image below. It feels as though there's a spring near my hip flexor. When the leg is un-raised, the spring is loose. As I raise the leg, the spring compresses until it's so compressed that I can't raise the leg further. If I instead I felt my hamstring stretching as I raised the leg, that would make sense because it would be a limitation of flexibility, but this seems like the opposite; it seems like an inability to contract my hip flexor rather than an inability to stretch my hamstring.

enter image description here

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    Welcome to the site! Unfortunately, this is not really anything we can answer, and it's not really related to fitness. This is something that would probably need a hands on assessment. – JohnP Feb 21 at 18:02
  • @JohnP Ok thanks for the heads up! – gkeenley Feb 21 at 18:07
  • As JohnP said, you really should go get an assessment from someone instead of a bunch of randoms on the internet. Having said that though, in my personal experience, issues like this tend to lean more towards strength than mobility. Can you lay on your back and pull your knees to your chest? Can you sit in a chair with your hips bent more than the picture above? If yes, then it's likely due to a weakness somewhere preventing you from raising your leg. – Dark Hippo Feb 22 at 8:56
  • @DarkHippo Thanks for your input. I use Stackoverflow all the time so I consider the info I get here better than from randoms on the internet :) But yes, I'll get it checked out asap. Re your questions, yes I can lie on my back and pull my knees up much further than I can raise them without assistance as in the picture. If you think this implies that it's a strength issue, then that's pretty much the answer I'm looking for. It didn't strike me as a strength issue at first because I can raise it up that far, then suddenly can't raise it any further. But I'll work on the strength there. Thanks! – gkeenley Feb 23 at 21:12
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    How tight are your pants? – JohnP Feb 23 at 23:43
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Perform this test : Stand up on your legs, both feet on the ground. Then, grab your knee with your hands and hold your leg against your stomach. Release your knee from your hands and try to maintain your leg at the height it was previously located. If your knee drops significantly, which should happen given your description, then probably your hip flexors are not strong enough.

If that is the case, then strengthen your hip flexors (psoas, ...). Look up on google you will find a ton of examples. Don't overdo it. Progressive overload, like everything.

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