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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Default Dancing without knees

    Can anyone give me advice on dancing that will save my knees. Ok this week I have been on my feet 10 hours a day looking after kids at half term, but after dancing last night my right knee is swollen. I assume that I should be doing bent knee shimmy, but I also think hip twists stress my knees!!

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    Hi Jenc,

    Hip twists shouldn't be stressing your knees. Its very important to make sure your knees remain in line with your hips - its when you try and keep them still while moving your hip you get problems. Make sure your weight is back on your heels a little, keep your knees a little bent, and allow the knees to move with the hips (they will turn inwards as the hips come forward). Shimmies are done so many different ways its impossible to say what way is right - for me they come more from the hips and the heels, too much knee action may give more movement but could be storing up 'wear and tear' problems for later on.

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    Member Mara2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    Can anyone give me advice on dancing that will save my knees. Ok this week I have been on my feet 10 hours a day looking after kids at half term, but after dancing last night my right knee is swollen. I assume that I should be doing bent knee shimmy, but I also think hip twists stress my knees!!
    Hello Jenc!

    Make sure you always keep your knees slightly bent, and shift your weight from foot to foot. Most dancers aren't taught proper way (in my opinion), so they end up hurting their knees, hips, etc. Your basic stance should be feet straight ahead, about hip-width apart, then pretend like you're going to sit down. The weight should mainly be borne in your thigh muscles, not your knees.

    Also, this twist is a new move to me. I was taught to use my feet to move my hips. To do this, kick your foot (we'll start with the right for the sake of explanation) like you are kicking a soccer ball. The instep of the foot should be facing forward, and foot is lifted very slightly off the ground (about an inch or so). DO NOT move that foot ahead of the other foot, but keep the heel parallel with the instep of the left foot. This will naturally push the right hip back. Now, gradually shift your weight to the right foot while pushing the right hip forward, then the left hip forward. Now, kick the left foot like you're kicking a soccer ball. Repeat to shimmy. It's not easy to perfect, but it's the way I was taught to do, and it's never hurt my knees.

    Also, do not use your knee until it heals. You may have injured the miniscus. Keep it elevated, with ice. Hope this helps.

    Warmest Regards,

    Tegan

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Hi Jenc - I can relate to that.

    One of my knees protests if I do anything that twists my leg at the top while the lower part is fixed eg. by having the foot flat on the floor with weight on it. I mostly catch it just moving about in everyday life - but for dancing I am very aware of trying to do what Tezirah just said and keep knees in line with the hips.

    If you have a knee problem PLEEEASE look after yourself and let it rest. A month or so back I didn't let my grumbling knee rest when I should have, and got 2 weeks confined to the sofa and another 2 hobbling to show for it.

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I have been dancing for almost 2 years - but it's only recently become a problem. I injured the knee 30 years ago. If I get out of condition, the damn thing will dislocate so it's already basically knackered.
    I don't normally use my knees to twist until I saw on a dvd that it's apparently difficult to keep level unless you clench your glute at same time and THAT really hurt my knee, so I went back to my old way. I am a child of the 60s after all!!
    I think it could be that my current teacher's "warm-up" is actually a fairly complicated bit of follow the dancing but. (She's Egyptian) I will have to fit in a personal warmup between leaving work and driving 18 miles for class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I have been dancing for almost 2 years - but it's only recently become a problem. I injured the knee 30 years ago. If I get out of condition, the damn thing will dislocate so it's already basically knackered.
    I don't normally use my knees to twist until I saw on a dvd that it's apparently difficult to keep level unless you clench your glute at same time and THAT really hurt my knee, so I went back to my old way. I am a child of the 60s after all!!
    I think it could be that my current teacher's "warm-up" is actually a fairly complicated bit of follow the dancing but. (She's Egyptian) I will have to fit in a personal warmup between leaving work and driving 18 miles for class.
    If a move gives you problems don't do it, simple as that. I used to have problems with my left knee...then I gave up smoking...and the knee has been fine ever since. Seems like you've got an old injury. Another good remedy for knee injury is Reiki. I'd recommend it.

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Have got my knees strapped up after trying African dance workshop at folk festival, ie with no warm up. I was showing off trying to do fantastic hip circles and squatting too much.

    I am wondering how should I shimmy to save my knees?

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I have been dancing for almost 2 years - but it's only recently become a problem. I injured the knee 30 years ago. If I get out of condition, the damn thing will dislocate so it's already basically knackered.
    I don't normally use my knees to twist until I saw on a dvd that it's apparently difficult to keep level unless you clench your glute at same time and THAT really hurt my knee, so I went back to my old way. I am a child of the 60s after all!!
    Just because it is on a DVD doesn't make it right - or safe!!

    When I do a hip twist my knees stay over the middle of my feet and my glutes are fairly relaxed. The work is done with the lateral flexors - such as the obliques - and it is level.

    With the "bent knee" shimmy, again the work is done with the lateral flexors with little tension on the knees.

    One thing you can do to help your knees is to build up your quads. A simple exercise is to sit on the floor with you legs out straight and press your knees into the floor a few times; then lift one leg at a time (to keep the stress off your back); then lift with resistance on the inside and outside of the leg/foot (such as with a band)

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    First of all, if you've got swelling you've got inflammation - this means it's important to use 'RICE' initially - rest, ice, compression and possibly elevation (but not for too long).
    This will reduce the swelling and help reduce pain - it's also important to retain the range of movement, so slow and gentle flexion/extension is good too - with the weight off the limb. The you can turn to using voltaren gel or another of the anti-inflammatory topical applications (gels etc) to help reduce inflammation as well, especially good while you're exercising. For pain relief - 200mg paracetamol every six hours is our basic prescription at pain management, works really well and is well-tolerated.

    You said that you've had problems in the past: it might be important to have your knee re-assessed for the best management, before you start on a programme of lots of strength training.

    I agree with Kashmir about working your quads - that's definitely the first step to improving the stability of your knee whether you have surgery in the end or not. To progress from the exercises she's suggested, your next step is to stand about a foot away from a wall, lean up against the wall, and slide up and down (to about where your knees are at 90 degrees). Holding that lowered position will tire the muscles on both sets (quads and hams), and you'll work quads when standing up again.

    Another good way to exercise them is in water - either aqua-jogging, or simply walking in water or exercising along the side allows resistance training with less impact/jarring than on land.

    I hope this helps - but do go and have your knee reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon and/or physiotherapist before much longer. If it's collapsing over rough ground, and you don't really trust it, and its swelling and so on, it's time to get it looked at!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    Have got my knees strapped up after trying African dance workshop at folk festival, ie with no warm up. I was showing off trying to do fantastic hip circles and squatting too much.

    I am wondering how should I shimmy to save my knees?
    Drive the shimmy from the thigh, this minimises knee movement. Also, any twists should be driven from the waist not the hip or thigh. Again, this minimises knee movement.

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