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Ballet Talk for Dancers

straddle wall stretch advice


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So I am lying on my back my seat against a wall, my legs straight up the wall. Then I open my legs, turned out, to a kindof straddle split.


Then I have pain in my inner knee (not back of knee).


Why is that? Is it safe to continue doing this? Did I do something wrong?


Oh, additional info... whenever I have my monthly massage, my masseuse also always loosening up through massage a very painful point on my inner knee, right where the pain is on now during the straddle wall stretch. Do I have posture issue?


thanks in advance

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Any stretch that causes pain in a knee is not a good thing to do. I don't know if there could be a posture issue or not, but it sounds more to me like a knee issue that should probably be investigated. Knees are complicated joints and there are many things that can go wrong there.

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I agree with Victoria Leigh. Stop the stretch and please see an orthopedic doctor who specializes in knees. I cannot imagine any spots in the knee that would knot up and thus require a masseuse to massage (the knee is not similar anatomically to say the back which has many muscles which can tighten or knot, rather it is a complex set of joints and cartilage) so until a doctor has evaluated you I would kindly ask your masseuse to avoid that area just to be on the safe side.


Please keeps us updated!

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I have this EXACT same thing. As a medic myself I have considered it thoroughly. I know, for example, that if I stop doing the stretch it completely resolves so I know that it is nothing serious and that it is caused by the stretch (for me). I know that other people don't seem to get it but that I am the oldest (30's) of the people I have asked. My conclusion is that for whatever reason the stretching when I do this is occurring in the superior end of the medial collateral ligaments (also where you are getting it). This makes sense. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link and this is a weaker point.


Conclusion? Physics is awesome. Also this stretch is not good for me so I have completely stopped doing it. Is it because i am old or physically abnormal? Actually it doesn't matter, I can't change either of those variables and I dance for fun and value my knees highly :)


If you ask some one with more experience I would be interested in their opinion and esp if they can tell you a saddle stretch that avoids this. I just do it with bent knees instead and use my turnout muscles to pull the legs down - double win :)

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Thanks a lot everyone. I haven't located an orthopedic yet, but will definitely do. However, I talked to my pilates teacher today, and she said a lot of her clients Are having the same problem (while not doing this stretching). She said it's because of high heels!!!


Interesting for me as my masseuse also mentioned the same thing when she first found the tense spot (before I restart bAllet or this stretch).


I guess an orthopedic will be able to confirm thys hypothese. Will keep you all posted

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If you dont mind me replying - a very knowlegeable physio I did a stretching course with addressed this issue.


It is also a very common issue - many people have it when starting to learn straddle stretches. As has been pointed out above, any pain is a danger sign which should be taken seriously, particularly in the knees which are very vulnerable joints.


HOWEVER, the experience of many adults (I cannot talk for younger people) is that IF the pain is mild (more like a strong tugging), if it goes away and stays away as soon as you stop stretching, and if it does not get worse in repeated sessions, then it will go away in time. It is more disconcerting than anything else.


According to the physio, it is due to an attachment of the fascia* on the inner side of the knee. This is probably why your masseuse is giving it extra attention - massage is one thing that can loosen up the fascia here. (*the tough sheets that wrap around al our organs and muscles.)


One thing you can try maybe, is holding your toes while doing the straddle. This works in some people - it gives a slight backwards rotation of the legs at the hips (increases turnout), and so takes some of the stretch off at that point.


I had it too, at first - now I never get it.



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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit more on the pain (or unpleasant tugging) on the inside of the knee in a straddle. I've just been to an exercise course where this was addressed. Apparenly it is because the fascia that runs among the muscles on the inner thigh is all stuck together. This is very common. It means that the muscles dont move separately, and when you do a straddle, all the force gets transferred to the tightest one - which is usually the one that attaches on the lower inner side of the knee (the gracilis). The solution, if it does not go away on its own, is to have a deep massage of the muscles on the inner side of the thigh. This involves digging the fingers in deep in between the different muscles on the inner side of the thigh to separate them, to stop the different layers of fascia adhering to each other (apparently it is difficult to do this massage on your own because so much force is needed).





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Oh, Jim! I feel so bad that I just reply your replies today! Thanks a lot for the very informative advices. Your advice is in line with what my GP said (no ortho yet) but you explained it in a more dancey way hahahaha....


I still do the stretch 5 day-ish per week, and I found that the tension has been diminished. Sometimes I massage my inner thights up to the tension point while in the straddle, and it. feels great. Indeed, it seems the tension is 'centered' in one spot, which will be more relax if I massage it. Will ask my masseuse to separate the fascia (she mentioned something about not letting the muscle stuck together, maybe this is a simplified version of your explanation?). BTW I just knew now that muscles are NOT suppose to move together?


Glad that my teachers noted that my feet are straighter as well.


Again, thanks a lot.

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I need to get to know your masseuse too, Scuballerina.. Looks like she had helped your stretching issue!

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  • 5 weeks later...

i have been fiollowing this thread, thank you so much for posting!

I have/had this problem too, except much worse. the pain would happen on one side only, but also in the butterfly position, and go all the way up my thigh. After reading this thread, I got a deep tissue massage and it has helped a lot!! Some pain is still there but it is less and I hope that after a few more sessions it will be mostly gone.

The massage guy said that next time, I should come earlier because this could have led to injuries if not treated for a long time.

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so. update on my visit to orthopaedist.


I visited for another problem actually (and the comfort of knowing I will have orthopaedist on hand to accompany me on this journey), but brought up this topic of straddle stretch. The ortho confirmed that my feet are OK, and any problem is due to muscle strain. His advice for my other problem and my straddle problem is the same: more warming up! and deep tissue massage will help as well.


he gave me some oral medicines, but I suppose to be good to dance on 7 January (date of my first class).


He seemed a bit shocked to know my current schedule of 8 hours/week dancing, though... I dunno if this means I should shop for another doctor who is more familiar with dancers and the grueling schedules of daily technical classes...

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