Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hyperextended? What to do...

I have several students in my classes who are naturally hyperextended. It's such a beautiful aesthetic in ballet, but man is it bad on the knees! They are constantly dealing with knee pain and swelling, and one of them asked if I knew how to fix it. I told her I thought she wasn't supposed to straighten her knees all the way, which for a hyperextended person means locking your knees, but I wasn't 100% sure. So, I consulted the experts, a.k.a. Dance Magazine. This article thankfully confirms what I thought and told my student, and it describes what is exactly going on in a hyperextended knee.

I also learned that hyperextension is a kind of made up condition in dance. In the medical field, it's used to describe an injury, not a natural condition (see: Mayo Clinic). That isn't addressed in the Dance Magazine article, but it at leasts helps us dancers and teachers know how to fix it! Check it out:


  1. As a former dancer with hyperextended knees (and loose joints) - I wish one of my teachers would have told me why I shouldn't lock my knees. After numerous knee injuries in adulthood which ended my dancing career at 28 - it's good that you are informing students to balance flexibility with strength. It will prolong their career and their ability for physical activity.

  2. Great to hear from you ladymoxie! Although, I hate to hear that knee problems from hyperextension ended your dance career. I hope you are able to teach to pass down your knowledge and help other hyperextended dancers. Thanks for reading!

  3. You might be interested in this article for dance teachers about hypermobility (as the medics refer to it) on the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science's website:
    Helen Laws, Dance UK