Health & Body
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Q: I don't have the turnout I wish I had. I'm somewhat knock-kneed and I'm wondering if this is affecting my rotation.

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Health & Body
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Q: Despite stretching, my knees stay at least a foot off the ground when I sit or lie down in butterfly. When I gently push my knees down, I feel a sharp pain deep in the hip joint. What can I do?

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Health & Body
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Q: One of my older students has pain in her right hip whenever she does a front battement or the splits, or when in downward dog. What do you think is going on?

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Health & Body
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Q: I have a friend who was diagnosed with a labral tear. She said it's becoming more common among dancers. Is there a way to prevent this?

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Health & Body
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When I am lying down on my back with my feet together and knees apart and press down on my knees, my hips pop. It feels really good. However, now when my hips don't pop, they hurt, and my lower back starts to hurt as well. What do I do to get them to pop, and is it even healthy?

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Photo by Emily Giacalone, modeled by Lizzie Villareal

Our hips are overachievers. They are the main source of turnout and the axis of all leg movement. Dancers work them hard. No one knows this better than Heather Heineman, physical therapist at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries at NYU Langone Medical Center. She treats all kinds of hip injuries in dancers, frequently from overuse. That's due, in part, to dancers' nonstop schedules. “In most sports, you have spring warm-up season, then you compete, then you cool down, then you take a break," she says. “You're still exercising, but you're doing different movements." But for dancers, it's repeat, repeat, repeat, all year round.

Dancers need to know how to properly care for and strengthen their hips—not just for career longevity, but to achieve maximum performing capability. There are several ways hips can suffer, but building the right muscles can help achieve proper technique and avoid injury.

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