Q: My daughter was recently told that her hyperextended knees are causing her hips to sway out, which is inhibiting her ability to get over on the box of her pointe shoes. She had a significant growth spurt in the past year, could this be part of the problem? Can things be corrected, and what kind of time frame am I looking at?
A: I’m delighted that her teachers are aware that hyperextended knees can be a challenge. When your daughter went through her growth spurt, it’s possible she lost some strength in the quadriceps and hamstrings. Hyperextended dancers are often quite flexible and need to develop the strength to maintain a straight line in the legs when dancing. At first, this will make her feel as if her knees are bent, but if she perseveres, she will be able to break the pattern of hyperextension.
The most important thing she can do is become aware of when she goes into hyperextension in her daily life and adjust accordingly. The time frame for correcting this will depend on her ability to self-correct her alignment. She cannot expect a fast turnaround if she only works on it in class. She needs to change this pattern of standing, whether she’s in class or just talking to friends in the halls at school.
Once she begins to stand in a more anatomically correct position and brings her knees in line with her hips and feet, her pointe work will improve.