Thursday, April 2, 2015


For my skating friends who talk about "open" and "closed" hips - this diagram gives a nice visual for the anatomy behind the terminology. (My hippie friends already know about angles of version.) I have severe anteversion (see "B" in the diagram). Those of you who are "open hipped" are more like "C" in the diagram. Dance and skating are both much easier for "A" and particularly "C" people. Many coaches who have normal or open hips don't understand how challenging it is for closed-hip people to do even simple things like Mohawks, although twizzles, hydroblades and loops may be easier.

There is a limit to how much external hip rotation you can get if your anatomy is similar to "B" - but there are ways to maximize what you have. "Turnout" includes external hip rotation as well as rotation from the knee and ankle/foot. Once you reach the end of your external hip rotation, no amount of stretching is going to change the alignment of your bones.

Pre-PAO, I was able to get a lot of hip rotation because my hips weren't in their sockets, so they turned more easily. However, this caused bad things to happen, including lack of stability, arthritis, and labral tears. My body learned to turn out below the knee to get things to happen, but my on-ice movement and alignment never looked correct to me when I watched myself on video or saw myself in photos. It all makes sense now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

HO Status Report

I spent two weeks vacationing in Spain, and walked everywhere - up to 10 miles daily, over cobbled streets - and my hips held up just fine. But there is a lot of residual weakness all over the place.  At my 3-month visit to Dr. Santore he signed me up for physical therapy. More on that later.

I've skated twice, and it's the typical cautious return that happens every time I'm injured or cut upon. After dinking around a couple of times I decided to wait until everything is stronger. My PT, Ashley, worked with me after I sprained my ankle and already knows a lot about my body alignment issues.

I'm convinced that even during my PAO rehabs, I cheated on a lot of my exercises, and therefore everything that was weak then never got strong and I just learned how to compensate differently.  While this means the body is a wondrous machine, it really doesn't help me skate better.  This time I vow to do the exercises right, even if it means I can't walk the next day.

And that's about where I am -- in a lot of pain. I'm working the hip flexors, the glutes, the quads, the glutes, the hamstrings, the glutes, the adductors, the abductors, and of course, the glutes. Ashley showed me the CORRECT way to do clam shells which proves once and for all that I never did them right in the past.

GLUTES GLUTES GLUTES! It's all about the glutes.  I'm a skater, for Pete's sake, and I've never had strong butt muscles. So of course my body is all wonky and misaligned and crying out for help.

I guess at age 52 it's time to fix this once and for all.