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Advanced & Professional Ballet
Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By toji_667member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 322, member since Sun Sep 28, 2008
On Fri May 10, 2013 01:52 PM

So I've torn my psoas muscle twice now, and had other problems with my psoas. The first time was in the winter of 2010/11 and I never stopped dancing to let it heal, save for a two week winter break, because I was under contract. The next winter I had more trouble with my psoas and now this winter, I tore it again. Luckily, this year I am not under contract and was able to take 3 months off of dance in order to heal. This is so lucky because this time the injury was much worse, much more painful. I want to have a career in dance, ballet is my life - I've been dancing for 15 years now - but people not in the dance world keep telling me to give up because of this injury. What should I do? Is it unreasonable to persue ballet professionally? Can I heal from this completely and not deal with it anymore? Is there a good way to prevent this injury while still getting to dance?

8 Replies to Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?

re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do? (karma: 1)
By RosePremium member Comments: 9216, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Fri May 10, 2013 02:24 PM
Is your doctor familiar with dancers? Does he treats them often? Does he understand that dance is not 'just a job'?
If not, find such a doctor!!! Take HIS advice serious.
Do not listen to anyone outside the dance world. They 'just don't understand' us.
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2214, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Fri May 10, 2013 03:52 PM
If you don't like what someone has to say... narrow your field of view to people with exactly the same perspective as yourself.

Seriously... most injuries caused in the studio happen because there's something we're doing wrong in our technique, something that's stressing the body the wrong way. The injuries are usually the result of chronic wrong technique --- sometimes even just a little bit wrong.

Other than letting an injury heal, I believe the most important thing is to figure out what you were doing wrong, and change accordingly. Otherwise, you run the risk of repeated re-injury. Especially since the now-injured body part is probably not as strong and injury-resistant as before it was injured.

I have no specific knowledge of psoas injuries, but I hope you will find the above helpful.
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By SharonDet Comments: 409, member since Mon Jun 04, 2012
On Fri May 10, 2013 07:39 PM
I don't have more to add to the other advice given but I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you are dealing with this. I hope you have a full recovery quickly.
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By toji_667member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 322, member since Sun Sep 28, 2008
On Sat May 11, 2013 06:43 PM
Anyone have any ideas what I could be doing wrong technique wise? Obviously it wouldn't be possible to know for sure, but a place to start looking for my instructor and me would be great.
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2214, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Sun May 12, 2013 06:13 AM
OK, what I'm saying here is ALL A GUESS. You should take these as some working hypotheses that you then look at with your teacher and physical therapist.


www.danceadvantage.net . . .

This article mentions some causes for psoas injuries: tight psoas and weak psoas. It also indicates that the psoas is the main muscle lifting your leg about 90 degrees in ballet. So I would consider:
1) Evaluate whether your psoas is tight or weak. (Physical therapists should know how to do this). Tearing a muscle tends to make it weak. So if your psoas has not been specifically strengthened since your first injury, I wouldn't be surprised if it's weak.
2) If your psoas needs stretching and strengthening, then I'd consider working initially with a pyhsical therapist to do it. Because if the muscle is both tight and weak, it's in a downward spiral where anything you do can hurt. You need to be very gentle and careful in bringing it around to an upward spiral.
2) Evaluate your extension technique. Consider staying at 90 degrees or below for the time being, while you figure out what's wrong.

The article also mentions that things are complex (which will make any recovery more of a black art than a science).

deansomerset.com . . .

This article also mentions that the psoas is one of the muscles involved in stabilizing the core, although not the main muscle. Specifically, it mentions that in the case of a weak core, the psoas will be called upon to stabilize your lower back instead. And this will cause undue strain on it. That might have been a contributing cause to your injury. And now, with an injured psoas, it could be even more problematic.

For this, the obvious answer is to strengthen your core. Core strengthening is almost never a bad idea for a dancer, and it's something that ballet dancers frequently need but don't have much awareness of. You can ask the PT's how to do this, of course. But I've always found PT exercises to be incredibly boring. Other ways to strengthen your core, which are probably more useful for building useful awareness in dance, include Pilates and training in Graham-like modern dance (contractions).

For me, the awareness built in the modern dance training gave me a base that I could bring back into ballet. Even though we're not usually doing big contractions in ballet or trying to actively move our lower spine, I found that small adjustments --- which I now knew how to do --- are frequently needed. The result was (among other things) improved balance, both standing on one leg and doing complex upper body movements.

Anyway, I would suggest looking into core strengthening activities. Just make sure that the people involved understand the injured psoas issue, and that you're not doing anything to aggrevate it. (Pain can be a good indicator here).
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By toji_667member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 322, member since Sun Sep 28, 2008
On Mon May 13, 2013 01:02 PM
Thank you! Posting the articles too really helped. I haven't been doing physical therapy this time around because it's more expensive so I've just been having my massage therapist, a good friend of mine whom I trust, work both positions. One of the things he said, which does indicate a weaker core, is that I have been evidently using my psoas as a prime mover, rather than just a helper like it's supposed to be. He's given me some core strengthening exercises which I've been doing and now I also have something to think about while I'm in class (back extensions). I will definitely find some time to talk more with my massage therapist about a yoga/Pilates instructor in my area!
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By hummingbird Comments: 10414, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Wed May 15, 2013 06:42 PM
Pilates would be a really good idea, the whole system is about creating core strength and working against what's described in that article, it's called a psoas paradox, where the hip flexors try to do the work of the abs.

As dancers we can have quite weak hamstrings and they are the opposing muscle grouping to the hip flexors, this muscle imbalance isn't healthy for us. In your case it sounds like there's a little bit more going on.

I am a Pilates instructor and might be able to help you find someone in your area if you want to pm me.
re: Re-occurring psoas injury... what should I do?
By toji_667member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 322, member since Sun Sep 28, 2008
On Thu May 16, 2013 09:01 PM
SO I've had a talk with both my massage therapist and my ballet instructor and the conclusion is that I've been overworking my Psoas when it's not necessary for me to work so hard. Most people have to work their core in order to keep their pelvis in, but I've got pretty natural alignment at this point so I'm working on just lifting up out of my torso area and I've got some Pilates exercises to add into my daily routine. It feels good to know what I've been doing wrong and how to fix that. Hopefully, I'll never have to deal with this again!

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