Named by its’ notorious “snapping rubber band” sound, Snapping Hip Syndrome(SHS) is a serious and common impairment for dancers. That “snapping” sound is actually the IT (Iliotibial) band gliding over the upper part of the leg bone and feels just as unpleasant as it sounds. This injury is a result of regular inflammation of the hip and also weakness along the outside of the hip and lordosis. If a dancer is “sinking” into a supporting hip or overusing lateral muscles, these are areas of technique that can eliminate SHS. When dancing, it is important to avoid turning the feet out because it adds unnecessary stress to the knees and hips. As with lower back pain, working out and strengthening the lower abdomen, hip flexors and other pelvic support areas is a proactive measurement taken to avoid SHS. A few stretches that have proved beneficial include:
- Hamstring Stretch: Lie down in a doorway with your pained hip against it, making sure that your upper body is on one side and your lower body on the other part. Raise your sore leg using the wall next to the doorframe for support. Try to hold this for 30-60 seconds, then lower it back down. If possible, repeat this stretch 3 times.
- Quadriceps Stretch: Stand facing a wall; give yourself about an arm’s length distance. Using the arm that is opposite of your pained hip, support yourself against the wall. With the arm that is on the side of your painful hip, bend your leg to your buttocks, grab your ankle and hold for 30-60 seconds. Try to repeat 3 times.
- Piriformis Stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Rest the injured leg’s ankle over the knee of the uninjured leg. With your hands, grab the thigh of the uninjured leg and pull the knee toward your chest. Once again hold this for 30-60 seconds and repeat at least 3 times.