How Do I Get My Knees To Straighten? [Video]

This was a problem I had during my years of training, and I know I’m not alone:

You feel as if your knees are completely straight, yet your teacher keeps asking you to straighten them; they look bent! What do you do?

How Do I Get My Knees To Straighten?

Lisa Howell from the Ballet Blog, is a physiotherapist from Australia who has authored several ebooks for ballet dancers.

Here’s her advice. It can be tricky to work without the help of a professional physiotherapist. So read, but consult your ballet teacher or physiotherapist before doing this on your own!

How Do I Get My Knees To Straighten?

 There are a few things that I routinely check on anyone who complains of knees that don’t straighten.

1 ) The first thing I do is assess how much range they have in their knees, by bending and straightening the knee myself (i.e. with no muscle activity. Some girls have reasonable range but just find it hard to do it themselves).

2 ) If the student has full range but just finds it hard to straighten the knees in class, I get them to sit with their legs outstretched and “pull up” their knees, at the same time as I feel the muscle on the inside of the knee.

3 ) If however the student does not have full range in the knee even when it is being moved by someone else, we need to track down exactly what is blocking the range. The first thing to check is where she “feels” the restriction when she tries to straighten her knees. Does she feel a  stretching in the back of a knee, or perhaps a blocking in the front? is the tension on either side of the knee or deep in the knee joint? This gives us some idea of where to start.

9 ) Please do not let her put any force through the knees to try to straighten them out as I have seen some very dangerous techniques! Any releases or stretches need to be well thought out and aim to slowly increase her range and strength over time.

From the Ballet Blog by Lisa Howell. Follow the link to read steps 4 to 8!

How Do I Get My Knees To Straighten?

Here’s a preview of the great physio work Lisa does with her patients. Don’t miss it!

Video from Lisa Howell’s YouTube channel.

How Do I Get My Knees To Straighten?

Make sure to comment below and share this important information with your ballet friends and their parents!

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