June 2013

Volume 3

Franklin Method 
for Dance

What You Need to      Know About Knees

If you think your knee operates like a

door hinge, that might be limiting your range of movement, causing instability or worse yet, contributing to knee pain. Door hinges move in one plane, the knee joint moves in three.  Last month we experienced how promoting tibial (shinbone) rotation improved flexibility and stability in the ankle joint when we bend. Let’s see what we can do for the knee.

Place the feet in parallel or a turned out 2nd position. Grab the top of the thigh with the whole hand. As you plié, manually rotate the femur (thighbone) externally. When you stretch, manually rotate the femur internally.  Of course you can’t actually grab the thighbone but you are giving your brain the tactile experience of femoral rotation. In

addition to smoother, more stabile joint action at the knee you might also

Bone Rhythms-Part 2

notice a deeper crease and more ease in the hip socket as well.

A lot of knee pain is due to kneecap

alignment issues. Since the patella is

connected (via the patellar tendon) to the femur at the top and the tibia at the bottom, the top follows the external rotation of the femur while the bottom tip of the patella follows the internal rotation of the tibia.  Image the patella sliding down and in toward the center as you bend the knees.

It might seem counter-intuitive to invite

“twisting” at the knee joint but the knee is designed to do just that. The bottom of the femur (thighbone) is shaped like 2 wheels on an axle except one wheel (the medial condyle) is bigger. Since the big wheel can travel further faster it causes the axle to veer to the outside in the direction of the smaller wheel (lateral condyle) when we bend the knee. That counter-rotation at the knee joint allows the force to be spread over a greater surface when landing from a jump for example. Think about a skier turning his skies to stop.  Counter-spiraling

or “twisting” is also how the body coils up to spring into the next action.

Watch the video for tips to encourage

femoral rotation, and condition your patellar tendon.

Next time:

Bone Rhythms - Part 3


Shake Your Groove Thang

Franklin Method Adult Ballet Classes




Live Arts L.A.




Pointe w/ FM 2.0

Live Arts L.A.





Studio A Dance


Participants at the Franklin Method

Dance Conditioning Workshop, MN

helping each other feel femoral rotation.