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Knee problems

Guest meira67

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Guest meira67


I was in a ballet lesson today, and again my main problem manifested itself: knees. My knees are hyperextensive, and it seems to be extremely difficult for me to keep them straight. Especially when returning the leg from tendu, I tend to bend the knee of the working leg. The bent knees attack also especially when doing tendus or about anything en dedans.


Does anyone have some helpful ideas? Have you had the same problem, and what did you do? Are there some things I should think about or concentrate on, or some extra exercises that could help?


Thanks for any help,


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Minna, when the knees are hyperextended the placement is even more crucial, especially being really lifted up out of the standing leg. If your weight goes back in the standing leg, it's really impossible to close the tendu of the working leg without bending it. You have to be very forward with the weight, and very lifted. It is not easy, and takes a while to teach the body to do this. You are still very new to ballet, so a little patience is needed here. ;)

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I've had and still have the same problem, and I'm also hyperextended. For me, it's not so much a problem of not being able to keep the knee straight and the weight where it belongs, but a problem in kinesthesia - I am unable to clearly feel when the knee is straight and when it's not. Pushed back, straight, and a little bent feel almost the same. Don't know if you have the same problem, but maybe some one on the board has...:rolleyes:


The sense has gotten better with time, but I still need to "listen" closely to the joint to feel it. I still get corrected for the problem, but maybe about twice in each class instead about the old twice in each combination :rolleyes: The problem tends to surface when I have something else to concentrate hard on, like tricky port de bras or somehing such.


What has helped is my teacher really correcting me over and over again (twice a combination is not a great exaggeration), and me keeping a close watch in the mirror for it whenever possible. So my advice would be try and don't get depressed when you get corrected about it all the time - that's what teaches you to notice when the knee is not straight.

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Guest tiffanymmcm

I also have hyperextended knees. If I hyperextend my leg then my knees tend to lock back which is no good and could cause a lot of damage if I locked my knees out of a jump or something. Luckily, I'm huge on the plie, and I always plie in and out of jumps.


As far as tendus go, when I am standing correctly aligned in fifth and lifted up and tight in the buttox, my thights are also tight and a straight line extends all the way down to my foot. If I am not lifting up and balancing my weight then I feel a sinking feeling and my knees will relax and bend forward. Locking the knees back in a standing position would only be cheating myself out of building proper muscle and alignment.


In first position I think it is more difficult to keep the knees straight because you are leaning a bit more to balance your weight. I still feel the same tightness when I am pulling up and my teacher has never asked me to correct my knees.


There is definently a range of motion in my knee that I do not feel in between having it locked to the back or bent slightly forward. The only times I really have problems is in arabesque. Sometimes I check myself in the mirror and see my knee slightly bent. I think this is due to not properly lifting up in the pose.


I think my trick has been to train my thighs to be tight and keep a straight line throughout my leg.


Floor Barre may be a good way to help you practice keeping your leg properly straight since you are laying down and you check your pose and posture continuously.

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Welcome, tiffany, to the Adult Students' Forums on Ballet Talk here at Ballet Alert! Online!:)


I know that Ms. Leigh will have more to add on this topic, but if I were in your situation, I'd avoid keeping thighs and buttocks muscles "tight". Now, you may mean something different from what I'm envisioning, but it's counterproductive to lock muscles up the same way that it's not good to lock joints.

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My teacher advised me to think about having the legs as long as possible and that the straightness would follow.


I find that when I am well aligned and placed in the body, thinking of length in the legs automatically seems to keep them straight in the correct position - I do noth have to think about it at all. (On the other hand, when I lose alignment in my lower or upper back and my weight slides back to my heels absolutely nothing works.)



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I've also got slight hyperextension in the knees, and wanted to share something that I found helpful:


I went to the doctor last autumn, because of achy knees, and was assigned a bunch of exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles. One of them was squats on both legs with feet parallel and slightly apart, going down slowly until the knee is bent 90 degrees, with the back straight but leaning forward with the squat, then straighten up slowly.


Anyway, what the PT told me was that with my hyperextension, I should straighten the knees (carefully!) as far as they go - into the hyperextended "locking" position - before beginning the next squat. The point was that if I didn't use and train that last few degrees of the range of motion, my proprioception and control at that point would remain weak and I wouldn't be able to tell whether the knee was slightly bent, straight or hyperextended. I did as I was told, spotting myself carefully in the mirror, and have really noticed the difference after doing the exercises for a month or so - my awareness and control of the position of the knee have improved.


Of course, I'm not always able to apply this knowledge in ballet classes, what with being too busy with everything else.. but at least I've started to get new corrections as well :rolleyes:



- Sanna

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