Knee Pop And Long Leg!

in Leg
After reading your letter about the popping hip, I was wondering if you may shed some light on an issue that I have been having. I have been having a popping sensation at the back of the knee. After x-rays and an MRI, I visited an orthopedic that informed me that he doesnt know what to tell me, he thinks it's my hamstring. The popping started back in October and since then has for the most part gone away, but there are times that I can still feel it pop or get a sensation as if it must pop. Do you have any concepts or options that I can try? I assume I need to let you know that there isn't a particular exercise that bothers me, most of the time it happens when I'm simply walking!

Thanks! Nancy

Good query - and - Im glad to know that the pop is slowly going away. Its not unusual at all to find that the lateral hamstring is tighter than the others. For women, it has to do with the width of our hips and doubtlessly tighter iliotibial bands. (The IT band connects from the muscle tissue on the outside of the hip and runs down the outside of the leg to beneath the knee.)

Are your IT bands tight? If so, I'd work with a foam roller alongside the outside of the leg in addition to the front and back.

Some dancers have some natural rotation that occurs at their feet while walking. You wish to preserve the hip/knee/ankle in alignment when walking, and that usually means going through straight ahead. You may note if the instances you might be noticing the pop if you're sporting sneakers that perhaps shift your gait. I see dancers stroll more turned out while in heels, for example.

It is amazing how usually a favorite pair of sneakers might be traced to some small tweaks and pulls. Im not saying that's what created your pop but merely when there's something occurring that isnt a straightforward cause/effect - it is helpful to broaden our observations to search for much less common influences.

Next question

I've an enormous drawback standing in fifth position. I can't seem to straighten my legs and nonetheless maintain a closed fifth position, mostly because one leg is insanely longer than the other one! My teachers are at all times telling me to straighten my legs and I simply cant appear to do it. In consequence, I grip my quads so much to try and preserve a straight fifth position. Then my teachers tell me to elevate up and turn out to maintain me from gripping my quads, but then I cant keep from tucking under. Will I ever be capable of have a straight fifth with my uneven legs? What should I do?

Thanks! -Kelly

There is an easy resolution to this drawback, Kelly. That is to get a lift to put in your gentle slippers of the short leg. I have seen this problem before when the dancer comes to see me and is having some knee, hip, or ankle problems on the long leg side.

If there's enough distinction that you can't simply cheat your fifth, (Im not encouraging anyone to cheat something) that tells me you might be standing erratically between the 2 legs even in open positions.

Stand in first position facing the mirror. Slowly lower into demi pli. Do you shift to the longer leg side at the backside of the pli? Now put something small - lower than a half inch in thickness below your short leg. Repeat your demi pli. Does it look more even? How does it feel?

If it feels considerably better it could be worth going to the drug retailer and purchasing a pair of heel cushions and place one of them in your soft shoe. It's an affordable fix.
Take the other lift and put it in your walking footwear and notice if you feel more evenly balanced as you go through the day.

Warmest regards,


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Deborah Vogel is a dancer, author, and master teacher who conducts workshops for teachers as well as student and professional dancers. Her numerous articles on dance technique and injury prevention have appeared in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, and Pointe Magazines. During her years in NYC she co-founded the Center for Dance Medicine with Dr. Richard Bachrach. Currently she is on faculty at Oberlin College and the OC Conservatory of Music.

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Knee Pop And Long Leg!

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This article was published on 2010/10/27