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I am not sure where to put this, so please move it if necessary.


I was reading on the website of the Cleveland Clinic about certain dance injuries and how to treat them, when I came across a section about what is preferred in a dancer's body (eg: slight hyperextension in the legs, long neck, etc). I read this, but it kind of confused me:


"Genu Varum (bowlegged)

Bowleggedness (riding a horse) is favored for the ballet dancer for both practical and visual reasons. External tibial torsion (outward rotation of the lower leg) is favorable in that it can increase turnout of the leg."


I had always thought before that being bowlegged was NOT good for someone who wants to be a ballet dancer. Anyone have any thoughts or comments?

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  • Administrators

While bowlegged people generally have a great jump, the line is generally not as good as that of people with straight or especially slightly hyperextended legs. I don't know where that information came from, but I have never found bow leggedness or tibial torsion to improve turn out at all. In fact, tibial torsion causes LESS rotation of the lower leg, and makes it very difficult to achieve a good line. It also leads to sickle feet, and it takes a lot of very hard work to learn how to manipulate this shape of leg so that it creates a respectable balletic line.

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Knock, Knock.


I have both hyperextension and bow-leggedness, tibial torsion and sickled feet. I've been working really hard on my alignment and weight distribution issues. I have two questions:


1. How does tibial torsion lead to less rotation in the lower leg?

2. How does it lead to sickled feet?

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Ms. Leigh, that is what I thought as well, which was why I was so confused when I read this. Here is a link to the website where I read this information:




I guess I thought that since it is coming from a hospital, it would be true, but I guess not! If you have the time, could you let me know if there is anything else incorrect (at least from the professional's point of view!) on the website?

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Guest littlegelsey7

I am bowlegged and I dont really mind it. It doesnt make my leg line look bad...at least I dont think it does because everyone is always complimenting me on my georgous legs. :wub: And my feet dont sickle at all either, they wing. I do have a good jump though like ms. Leigh said. I dont think being bowlegged is bad for me at all. :yes:

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I am also bowlegged. I, in a way, like it because I have very good jumps, and people are always complementing me on my legs! My leg line also looks normal, I don't sickle, although some times I have to fight not to. My problem about being bowlegged is that I find it hard to close to fifth, especially from the side going fifth back. But I'm trying hard to make it a habit to correct that. I also don't think being bowlegged for some people is necessarily bad, you just have to know how to work with it.

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I am bowlegged also and have slight tibial torsion my feet used to sickle. I have had to work really hard to fix it. What helps a lot I think with both of those things is to stand in parallel feet together and using the back of your legs (seat muscles) and inner thighs try to rotate your legs outward you should see the space between your legs become less. Do this A LOT and you should see a noticable difference. For sickling feet I think you should stretch your feet winged or just practice winging your foot. There is a lot more that I did for those but I am blanking out if I remember them I will post. HTH! :yes:

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Hart, when there is tibial torsion the lower leg is less turned out and does not look turned out even though the leg might be well rotated from the hip. Most people don't adjust to this and place the leg from the hip rotation, which is too far side for the lower leg to look rotated, and, because the lower leg is turned in a bit, the foot sickles.

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Ms. Leigh, is there any way to fix the lower leg that does not appeared turned out that is safe? Hopefully this is not off topic... :P

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Hmmm, I guess I never thought of my lower leg as less turned-out than my upper leg. I have always thought of my lower leg as more turned-out because my knee curves in more than my foot and because my feet are naturally more rotated than my knee in first position. But I can see your point in that, because my lower leg curves, the ending of that curve would lead one to sickle.



Balletqueen3450, I have also found your exercises helpful.

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Yes, the leg has to be placed more forward, depending on how much tibial torsion is there. It will have to use less of the hip rotation, possibly, and be placed wherever it needs to be in order to LOOK turned out and not sickled.

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