Thursday, June 11, 2009

Survey: knee care for Lindy Hoppers

The Bees' Knees

Folks, I'd like to compile some helpful tips for taking care of one's knees. Please respond with your advice.


  1. -Ice your knees for at least 20 minutes after dancing.
    -Stretch before dancing


  2. Thanks Orin!

    With regard to the stretching, that's something that everyone should consider. What stretches would you recommend? It has been a while since I regularly stretched before dancing and to be honest, I feel that my best dancing came when I took the time to get my body ready.

    The first comment I received (via Facebook) was from Emily Falcon:

    "suede or leather shoes, keep your knees bent and don't dance on concrete."

    I'd like to expand on that a bit. Of course, bending the knees is the best way to facilitate shock absorption. In the same vein it is advisable to keep your heels off the ground so that the ankles can aid in this.

    With regard to the advice about leather shoes, it appears to have to do with reducing the friction between the dancer and the floor. If you have only danced on rubber soles this might take some adjusting, but it is worth taking care. Almost exclusively, I dance on hard leather.

  3. Another point that Kirsten reminded me about when we discussing her knee issues:

    Keeping your knee in line with the direction of the feet is very important.

  4. More details on the "keep knee in line with foot direction" bit - this doesn't just go for dancing.

    If you notice this issue in dancing, you are likely doing this in all walks of your life. I sure was!

    What helped me:
    -Pay attention when you're walking around, DDR-ing, stretching, or doing other activities.
    -When you catch yourself, correct yourself and feel the difference.
    -It also helped me to do a few lunges right after the catch and correction - another opportunity to really focus on alignment and pay attention to what the 'correct' feel is.

    I echo the dancing in suede-sole shoes. I picked up a pair of 'real' dance shoes when I started lindy hop after 6 months of dancing WCS in rubber soled sandals and sneakers. HUGE difference in feel, and my knees/ankles felt better... though I'm sure part of that was also the floating dance floor for lindy vs. linoleum over concrete for WCS.

    I also strongly recommend doing lunges, daily if you can. Work 'em in when you're walking the dog or cooking, when you find yourself with nothing to do. Stronger knee muscles = less pain.

    One other thing I'm planning is starting up kneee exercises recommended by MDs for weak knees/cheerleader's knee. Eg sit on a chair, raise your foot, lower foot, repeat ~12x per foot, three sets each. Add weight to increase resistance as this becomes easy.

    The 200 squats program (google it) might also be another way to prevent knee issues and strengthen legs. Have not tried this but when I do, I'll report back.

    1 oz prevention >> 1 lb cure!