Health & Body

Ask Deb: What Do I Do About Hyperextension?

Photo by Erin Baiano

Recently my daughter has been told that her hyperextended knees are causing her hips to sway out instead of under—making it so she's not getting over the box of her pointe shoe fully. Although she's always been hyperextended, she did have a growth spurt in the last year. Could this, combined with her hyperextension, cause instability and incorrect technique? Can it be corrected?

I'm delighted her teachers are aware that working in hyperextension can be a problem. When your daughter went through her significant growth spurt, it's quite possible she lost a bit of strength in her quadriceps and hamstrings. The hyperextended dancer is often quite flexible and needs to develop the strength to maintain the hips, knees and ankles in a straight line when standing. This may make her feel as if her knees are bent, but she needs to persevere until she's able to break the pattern of standing in hyperextension. It's OK for her to hyperextend when her leg is in the air.

Have her become aware of her standing position outside of class. Note how often she sinks into her hyperextension and encourage her to correct her knees to neutral. She needs to change this pattern of standing, no matter whether she is in class or standing talking with friends. Over time this will help her quads (and hamstrings) work more effectively!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher's Retreat to Tuscany!

Got a question for Deb? E-mail, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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