Part 1: Assessment of the Hip External Rotators
Is your dancer truly using the 6 deep hip external rotators of the hip to turn out? Here are some ways to assess it.
Greater Trochanter Positioning:
The dancer stands parallel with their feet facing forward. The healthcare practitioner stands to the side of the dancer with one hand grasping the ASIS and PSIS, and the other hand grasping the anterior and posterior borders of the greater trochanter. The borders of the greater trochanter should be located within the borders of the ASIS and PSIS to begin. Next, ask your dancer to plié. If the greater trochanter shifts forward, then the deep hip external rotators of the hip are not working to glide the femur posteriorly within the acetabulum.
Single Leg Balance:
The healthcare practitioner should palpate posterior to the greater trochanter where the 6 deep hip external rotators attach. As the dancer shift his or her weight from 2 feet to 1 foot, the deep hip external rotators should contract. Compare the ability for the deep hip external rotators to contract on the right leg and left leg in single leg stance.
First Position Plié:
Have the dancer stand in first position and perform a plié while the healthcare practitioner is behind the dancer palpating the deep hip external rotators. The rotators should be activated and maintain activation during a plié.
Remember: If the pelvis goes into a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck), the external rotators cannot work efficiently.
See Part 2 where we discuss our favorite exercises to improve turn out.