Your hips don't lie—especially when it comes to pain. And while temporary soreness is normal for busy dancers, constant aching and pinching definitely isn't. Dance Spirit turned to Jenni Green, PT, MS, CFMT, and president of PhysioArts, for a basic breakdown of hip pain.
What It Is
"If you're experiencing a pinching sensation when you pull your knees into your chest, that's not normal—it's called 'anterior impingement,' " Green says. On the other hand, "If you're experiencing pain when you battement or développé to the front or the side," Green says, "that could be a sign of hip flexor tendonitis."
What Causes It
"If you're experiencing a pinching sensation, you're likely overstretching or incorrectly stretching your hip flexors," Green says. "If you remain in a lunge position too forcefully for too long, you're only stretching the ligaments and not the hip flexor itself."
However, if the sensation you're feeling is more of a tense grip (like you can't relax your muscles), Green says your hamstrings may be too tight. "If you're kicking your leg and your hamstring is restricted, your hip flexor has more weight to lift. You're over-muscling instead of supporting your movements from your
center"—and overusing your hip flexor in the process.
How to Deal
If your hamstrings are tight, a combo of foam rolling, stretching and self-massage can help release the tension. If you're experiencing pinching, pay attention to your stretching positions. "The best thing you can do is stretch your hip flexors properly, in a way that completely supports your joint," Green says.
She recommends imagining how someone would kneel when they propose: "Don't lunge forward. Keep your trunk upright and behind the leg that's kneeling. Keep your pelvis tucked under and maintain that tuck as you slowly bend into your front leg." While the mobility won't be nearly as great, you'll feel a much stronger stretch.
If your pain is persistent or getting worse, Green advises seeking out a physical therapist.