Adult Irish dancers are more likely to get injured than their younger counterparts. But all dancers can benefit by taking action to prevent injury and increase their muscle strength. This article is the third in a series focusing on what adult dancers can do to maintain a healthy body.
But turn-out in your sport is a not an option, it’s a requirement.
So what’s a dancer to do? The answer may be as simple as a change of perception.
Dr. Jack Giangiulio, a dance injury chiropractor, says that at least 90% of poor hip turn out is caused by meager foot control (the other 10% can relate to a lack of lumbo-pelvic coordination, and genetics). Dr. Jack says, ”It is not usually about strength or even flexibility, it is just a matter of reconnecting (a dancer’s) neurology to coordinate the muscles.”
Try Dr. Jack’s simple suggestions to improve your turnout. A slow and steady approach to training the foot is best.
■First, check to make sure that your feet are in a neutral position:
While standing with your heels together, turn-out your feet. Ask a friend to place two fingers under the arch of your foot. If your friend’s fingers cannot fit under your arches, you are rolled-in. If more than two fingers fit under your arches, you are rolled-out. Repeat with your feet crossed over.
■Practice keeping your feet in a neutral position:
Resume standing with your heels together, making sure that the heel and all toes remain on the floor. Align your knees with your toes and hold the position for two minutes. Repeat in a crossed position. Daily repetition may be required for up to four weeks to re-train the muscles in your feet. Note: this position will require you to temporarily reduce your turn-out while your body re-trains.
■After you gain control over your feet, you can add exercises for increasing turn-out recommended by your dance teacher.
“The idea here is to teach the body that the hip, knees, and foot must always be in alignment, and to keep the foot in the neutral position.” Dr. Jack explains.
When your feet are turned out with greater foot control, your dancing will look nothing short of magical.
So do you use certain exercises to improve your turn-out?
You can find more articles on foot control by visiting Dr. Jack Giangiulio’s website http://www.danceinjurydoctor.com/.
This article originally appeared on Diddlyi Magazine.