Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

In the world of ballet, flexibility and strength are the keys to success. A leg extended to extraordinary heights is equated with beauty and expertise, whereas a lower height is seen as lesser quality. Dancers are trained from their first ballet lesson to reach their toes to the utmost end of their range of motion, and push themselves beyond the regular restrictions of the human body. Despite the pressure put on dancers to be extremely flexible, tight hip flexor muscles (the rectus femoris and the iliopsoas group) are a common complaint, restricting hip hyperextension (called an arabesque). To compensate for this restriction, dancers tend to rotate the pelvis incorrectly, most commonly leading to lower back pain.

The goal of this research was to measure the correlation between hip flexor extensibility, arabesque height, and lower back pain; specifically, whether a tight iliopsoas group restricts range of motion and correlates with lower back pain in dancers. Through a series of non-invasive measurements, I tested the rectus femoris and iliopsoas group for range of motion and general extensibility. The measurements were as follows: Patrick’s Test, Thomas’s Test, Modified Thomas Test, and prone hip hyperextension. Each subject also completed a pre-screening form to assess degree of lower back pain. I analyzed the outcomes of the measurements to find a possible correlation between hip flexor extensibility, hip hyperextension (arabesque height), and lower back pain.

Following the testing, I will review the outcomes of the measurements with the individual subjects and recommend stretching exercises to those who had positive testing outcomes for hip flexor tightness. For those subjects reporting lower back pain, I will recommend hip flexor exercises to help alleviate the pain caused by compensatory hip torsion. The exercises can be implemented by any qualified individual, such as the subject’s dance teacher.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 15th, 3:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:00 PM

Hip Flexor Extensibility and Its Correlation to Hip Hyperextension and Lower Back Pain in Dancers

In the world of ballet, flexibility and strength are the keys to success. A leg extended to extraordinary heights is equated with beauty and expertise, whereas a lower height is seen as lesser quality. Dancers are trained from their first ballet lesson to reach their toes to the utmost end of their range of motion, and push themselves beyond the regular restrictions of the human body. Despite the pressure put on dancers to be extremely flexible, tight hip flexor muscles (the rectus femoris and the iliopsoas group) are a common complaint, restricting hip hyperextension (called an arabesque). To compensate for this restriction, dancers tend to rotate the pelvis incorrectly, most commonly leading to lower back pain.

The goal of this research was to measure the correlation between hip flexor extensibility, arabesque height, and lower back pain; specifically, whether a tight iliopsoas group restricts range of motion and correlates with lower back pain in dancers. Through a series of non-invasive measurements, I tested the rectus femoris and iliopsoas group for range of motion and general extensibility. The measurements were as follows: Patrick’s Test, Thomas’s Test, Modified Thomas Test, and prone hip hyperextension. Each subject also completed a pre-screening form to assess degree of lower back pain. I analyzed the outcomes of the measurements to find a possible correlation between hip flexor extensibility, hip hyperextension (arabesque height), and lower back pain.

Following the testing, I will review the outcomes of the measurements with the individual subjects and recommend stretching exercises to those who had positive testing outcomes for hip flexor tightness. For those subjects reporting lower back pain, I will recommend hip flexor exercises to help alleviate the pain caused by compensatory hip torsion. The exercises can be implemented by any qualified individual, such as the subject’s dance teacher.