Irish Dance and Hip Pain

My family has enjoyed celebrating our Irish heritage ever since I can remember But, ever since I went to see my first performance of Riverdance 20+ years ago, I’ve been 100% obsessed. Every time I heard a traditional jig or a reel, I wanted to get up and dance, but you can only really Irish dance to Irish music, right? A little over 2 years ago, I had the strong sense that it was now or never, and I finally found an Irish dance school accepting adult beginners, so I worked up the courage to go.

Now, the physical-therapist-me thought it was the dumbest idea I’d ever had. Dance in general requires a great amount of hip mobility and strength, something better developed gradually as a youngster.

Not only had I never danced, I’d been having L hip pain for months. I’d even significantly decreased my running because of it. I was pretty sure I had a labral tear, but as with all PT’s, we make the worst patients, so ignored it. (Especially, because at the time, the answer was ultimately surgery.)

So, as I muddled through the multitasking of learning steps, remembering steps, remembering crossing legs, knees together, heels forward, turning out, arms straight, back straight, looking up…phew…I realized not only how bad my memory was, but also how weak my hips and calves were.

When another classmate who was having ankle issues asked me to do an quick assessment of her strength, we bartered. She taught me a lot about Irish dance and I helped her with her strengthening. I developed a strengthening program for her, but I started doing some of it too.

As the weeks went on, all that mobility and strengthening, along with “leg turn out, up on the toes”, and burning up to the Irish medley ‘one more time’, not only was my flexibility and strength improving, I realized I had NO hip pain….and even more rewarding, my classmate went on to win the adult title at the Nation’s Capitol Feis!

Do you have something holding you back from exercising or moving to the next level? Come to Atlas Therapy Inc and see how physical therapy can help you!