I have a student who’s complaining that her hip’s popping out of the socket. I notice that when I ask her to rotate her leg in and out while in a tendu, it seems to pop out when she’s turning in and goes back in place when she’s turning out. I’ve never seen this before. Can you shed some light on what it is and how I should deal with it?
What you’re describing sounds like snapping hip syndrome. This happens when the abductors and other lateral hip muscles are overly tight, so that when the rotation of the leg is changed, the iliotibial band “pops” over the greater trochanter (the bump on the outside upper thigh).
Many dancers claim they can dislocate their hip and demonstrate this by standing on one leg, shifting their hip out to the side and making the greater trochanter “pop” out from under the iliotibial band (or ITB). It’s pretty dramatic and makes for an audible “wow” by observers.
What you’re describing with the tendu may be a variation of this. When your dancer rotates that leg in, they get a pop as the trochanter changes its placement in relation to the iliotibial band.
What I would encourage your dancer to do is to work with a pinkie ball or foam roller to release the tightness around the hip, focusing more on the outside of the pelvis. Dynamic stretching of the gluteals, turnout muscles and the lateral hip muscles need to be done on a regular basis. Make sure her turnout muscles are working appropriately, and she should see a difference from her efforts with less “popping” over the course of a few months.
To your success,
Director, The Body Series
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