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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Problem with developpe


Mr Robin

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I've been getting a funny thing going on with developpes for a while now, but just on one leg. Basically, I get a tightness at the back of the knee, towards the inside edge, both in my lower hamstrings and my upper calf. It starts when I extend from the knee, but is most noticeable as I lower the leg and pull into the floor. The tightness lasts for a few minutes afterwards, then dissappears...

 

I finally went to see a physio about it, but he thought it was related to an minor hamstring injury that was reacting to being overstretched. He found a very painful spot in my upper calf, but I had some treatment for it and took a couple of weeks off dancing and stretching, which cured the tenderness.

 

When I came back to dancing, though, the tightness was still triggered during developpes, so I'm not sure that he got his analysis right. I've been very careful not to overdo it with hamstring stretches, and I've lowered the height of my developpe. I don't find the problem with other exercises like battements, or with hamstring stretches, so it seems it's related to either the extension from the knee or the slow lowering of the leg.

 

Anyone ever experienced a problem like this, or care to offer a second opinion as to what's causing it?

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Hi Rob

 

I left answering this as I was hoping maybe others may have more experience regarding muscle groups and general issues like that.

It is one of those questions that is also difficult to answer without actually seeing the person. It may be a question of incorrect placement.

What I can offer is that you tell your teacher at the start of class what you have told us here, and ask her if she could keep an eye on you particularly during developes. MAybe she will see something.

It may be that you could be tightening your knee thereby placing undue stress on the muscle in question. Do you still get the pain when you lower your develope?

How is your turn out as you extend? i.e. are you presenting your inside heal to the ceiling? (does that make any sense?).

Are you at all hyperextended?

 

Jeanette

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Hi Jeanette

 

Thanks for your thoughts - I know this is a hard one to comment on without seeing me, but was hoping someone might have experienced something similar!

 

To clarify, the tension (I wouldn't call it a pain because it doesn't hurt, it just feels odd) is there from the point the leg is straightened to when it is back in fifth. I don't fully get what you mean about presenting the inside heal to the ceiling (I do to the front, but surely that changes to the side and the back?), but I think I'm using my turnout correctly.

 

I have a feeling that this is a hyperextension issue, not that my leg looks at all hyperextended. I did have major knee surgery years and years ago, though, and I'm not convinced that they put my put my leg back together straight! Or it may just be that because my muscles wasted a lot while they were in plaster, some that I should be using have never developed back fully, so I'm using other ones I shouldn't be.

 

I guess I need some more expert biomechanical analysis. I will collar my teacher after class and get her to watch my developpes very closely, but she's normally very observant in class so I'd be suprised if she spotted anything. Probably the best route, though, is to see if my physio can refer me to someone with a little more expertise.

 

Cheers,

 

Rob

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