By: Alana Ouazzani
I confess, after being a dancer most of my life, I used to be a Platinum member of the “Guilty of Banana Knees Club”. I am now paying the price at 40 with my crackling knees and occasional pain.
What is “Banana Knees?” (AKA Hyper Extended Knees)
The knee joint, when you are standing, should be a straight line between the Femur (Thigh Bone) and your Tibia (Shin Bone). The Patella is the Knee Cap that most people call their knee. The Femur and Tibia are carefully held together by ligaments and tendons. If the knee extends beyond it’s normal range of motion, then this called Banana Knees (AKA Hyper Extended Knees).
Basically, the ligaments and tendons around the joint become too-loose and the joint becomes hyper-mobile leading too Banana Knees.
Banana Knees is not just a condition of the dance community, this can happen as the result of a sports injury, or bad posture. The symptoms of it could be light or they could be very severe leading to torn ligaments, limited mobility, pain, water on the knee, and cartilage damage.
So how do I fix Banana Knees?
The key is to remember that a straight line between the Femur (Thigh Bone) and Tibia (Shin Bone) is the Best. In order to do that, the hamstrings have to work. If you are guilty of Banana knees, the quads are probably already working too hard. So the key is to strengthen the hamstrings and make them work harder.
An excellent exercise to strengthen the hamstrings at home is the shoulder bridge.
While you are in class, focus on the tracking of your knees on foot work and bend and stretch. Focus on what the glutes and hamstrings are doing and don’t let their friends the quadriceps do all the work.
Last but not Least- Please Keep Calm and Don’t Go Banana’s