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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hypoextension


Merry

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I know it sounds ridiculous to ask, but how do you know if you have hypoextension? There is so much written on BT4D about what hyperextension looks like and I have seen many people who have this condition, so you would think I should recogise the opposite, but I don't seem to be objective about myself. I have also read quite a few posts about hypoextension here, but I couldn't find anything to tell me how to determine if I have it (maybe because it should be obvious?!!)

 

If I sit on the floor with my legs extended in front of me, parallel, I cannot make the backs of my knees touch the floor (gap is around a third of an inch) - is this an indication of hypoextension, or is it just an indication that I have developed calf muscles? Is there a way of determining the situation?

 

The reason I ask about this is that I always feel that the side of my back knee area is in the way when I stand in fifth. Because it's 'in the way' I find it hard to straighten the front knee unless I reduce the turnout in my front leg. If I make a small fourth position with my feet (say two to three inches open) my knees feel how I imagine they should feel in fifth position - they are still touching and I can straighten fully (as fully as I can) and they seem to 'slot together' comfortably.

 

In case it makes a difference, my legs are completely straight from the front view when parallel.

 

Your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Merry! Well I am a relative beginner but one of my teachers often tells us that it is much more difficult to really turn out in 5th (2nd is the easiest). I am not overweight (by general population standards) but my thighs sort of prevent me from going all the way. But I think she is also referring to the hip joint itself..... presuming nothing was to get in the way, I think it is still more difficult.

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I agree Serrée - but even when I danced as a child (nine or ten years) I had the same problem despite lots of work on turnout etc.

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Hypoextended knees do not straighten all the way. It does not sound like that is your problem. Hyperextended knees go past straight.

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Thank you Ms Leigh.

 

So, if my knees are straight from the front and I also don't have hypoextension, is it likely I am doing something else technically incorrectly which is stopping me from fully pulling up the front knee in fifth?

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I don't whether it's any help to you, but this page:

 

http://www.med.nyu.edu/hjd/harkness/patien...uries/knee.html

 

talks about difficulty in straightening the front knee in fifth position, and feeling like it is 'in the way'. The info is in the 'Patellar-Femoral Syndrome' under 'Technical Tip'.

 

For what it's worth, I've found that I can't straighten my front knee in 5th if I've forced turnout. Maybe it's a structural thing?

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Thanks for the link, Mazenderan.

 

Maybe it is a structural thing - I sem to be living with a lot of those! lol

 

I don't feel as if I'm cheating by forcing my turnout, though if I DO try to do that the problem with the inability to straighten the front knee because of the other leg/knee is made worse. I need to fiddle about with my position to get the best I can do with straight knees. I do think I sometimes turn out the front leg more than the back one, so will check that out too.

 

So, eleven years of ballet training and I can't yet stand correctly! lolol Any other hobby I would give up!!

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Sometimes the inability to straighten the front leg in 5th is because one's weight is settled too far back and down in the back leg. Forcing rotation can cause that, but so can just a lack of correct alignment and weight placement.

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It sounds like it's probably my fault then, rather than something that can't be helped. That means I can try harder then, which is good.

 

Now I have to master helping to put the cast iron barre away at the end of the class without dropping a section of it on my foot as I did last April. The black section of toe nail is almost at the top now......... !! Oh, for a dedicated studio!! lol

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Thank you for posting this - initially I didn't think it would be relevant to me because I clearly have hyperextended knees, but Ms. Leigh, what you said about the lack of correct weight placement and alignment in 5th is definitely something I feel I am struggling with and now it makes more sense. Thank you.

 

As an aside, I feel very sorry for our teacher because there are only 2 students in my class, including myself, and I have hyperextended knees and the other girl has hypoextended knees, so we're a lovely mix of problems for our teacher!

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Sometimes the inability to straighten the front leg in 5th is because one's weight is settled too far back and down in the back leg. Forcing rotation can cause that, but so can just a lack of correct alignment and weight placement.

:shrug: oh, so that is why some days it just wont work. I never thought about weight placement affecting the 5th position but now it seems so obvious :unsure:

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