jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Mystery solved!

4 Comments

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Yes, folks, that is indeed Rodin’s Le Penseur (The Thinker). He is sitting there with his right elbow on his left thigh, which means that his torso is rotated counter-clockwise, and his left side is somewhat scrunched up.

When I put myself into this position, I feel this familiar tightness deep in the back of my hip, where my femur inserts. I have had this for years, and nothing seems to help with it.

At our last session, my PT Sarah told me that she thinks my hip problems might be related to too-tight obturator muscles. There are two obturator muscles. The obturator internus is located underneath the gluteus maximus and helps to laterally rotate the hip. Along with the obturator externus, it works to tilt the pelvis forward.

Posterior_Hip_Muscles_1

Posterior Hip Muscles

When the obturator internus is too tight, the pelvic bone becomes tipped too far forward.

So it’s all beginning to make sense. I’ve had this tight obturator and my left hip bone tipped forward for a really long time.  No wonder I could never get satisfactory turnout on the left side–my leg bone was already rotated out to the max in an effort to stay upright.

I confess that I have totally misunderstood my problem. For years, I thought that I was just built wrong for ice dancing, with turned-in knees.  I kept trying to increase my turnout through stretching exercises that emphasized the external rotation of the leg, which was simply aggravating the problem.

The exercises I have been doing emphasize internally rotating the thigh (picture Le Penseur pushing his left knee into the right one and rotating his left leg clockwise). This activates both the adductors (inside thigh muscles) and the muscles on the outside of the hip.

I have also been working on allowing my knees turn in while skating. What a difference this makes! Really, my knee is aligned right along the edge, but it feels like I’m turning in. I was really surprised to find that even skaters with really good turnout look like they do this.

Canada's Scott Moir and Canada's Tessa Virtue perform in the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOVYURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: 461448105

Canada’s Scott Moir and Canada’s Tessa Virtue perform in the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOVYURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: 461448105

Sarah pronounced my hips “neutral” so my exercises are doing their job.  Now it’s just a matter of strengthening certain muscles and loosening others (like the obturator internus) so they stay that way. More exercises, including some for my lower back and core.

But first, a song from Carly!

!

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Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Mystery solved!

  1. The Thinker is getting prepared to go into a back (sit spin) twist position! Assuming he is a CCW spinner, he just needs to straighten his right arm, twist his head and voila! 🙂

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  2. I love it! That is so true. Rodin should have just put skates on him!

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  3. Jo, how do you think your obturator internus got so tight? Maybe contact me at my email, I have some concerns that that could happen to me as well.

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  4. I’m not sure how it started. It’s pretty normal to have a weaker side, so for a long time I assumed that having trouble with certain moves on my left side (turns in particular) was normal. I’ve never felt that my balance was really “on,” but I just kept on hoping that diligent practice would help. But then I started having a lot of pain while walking in my left foot as well, and was diagnosed with an actual hip misalignment, meaning that it got to the point where certain muscles were no longer working properly and others were taking up the slack. I’ll drop you a note to see if any of my experiences might be helpful to you.

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