Magazine article Dance Teacher

Knee-Sy Dose It

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Knee-Sy Dose It

Article excerpt

Focus on . . . Injury Recovery: Patellar Tendonitis

Recovering from a knee injury? Here are three exercises to help you heal and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Sautés, pas de chats, grand jetés, tour jetés: All jumps, even on sprung dance floors, can take their toll on dancers' knees. If you or your students have suffered from patellar tendonitis, a.k.a. "jumper's knee," it's crucial to strengthen and lengthen the quadriceps femoris muscles, the muscles in the front of the thigh that extend the knee joint during développé, control deceleration of the knee bend during jump landings and protect knees from stress. At the same time, be sure to maintain your overall strength and stability. Start by practicing these three exercises regularly.

LEG LIFT

Work up to two sets of 25 reps of this quadriceps-strengthening stretch with each leg.

EQUIPMENT

An ankle weight and a rolled-up towel

* Sit on the ground with your legs in front of you, making sure to sit up high on your sitz bones with a straight back.

* Strap an ankle weight around your right ankle and place a rolled-up towel under your right knee. (A rolled-up mat is shown here.)

* Bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle and clasp your hands under your left knee.

* Flexing your right foot, straighten your right leg.

* Without sinking into your hips, founding your back or gripping your left knee with your hands, lift your right leg off the towel a few inches.

* Lower your leg to the position in Step 2 (not all the way to the ground).

Note: Take off the ankle weight if you feel any knee pain.

ANTERIOR THIGH STRETCH

This balance not only strengthens quadriceps but also tests overall stability. Hold for 60 seconds three times on each side.

EQUIPMENT

A mat or lightly padded surface

* On a mat or lightly padded surface, kneel on your left knee, keeping both legs at 90-degree angles. …

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