jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Hips are A-okay!


I had a session with PT Sarah the other day, just to check in. My hips are doing pretty well! I still have some stiffness on the left side, but it’s way better. And so we spent more time on trying to get more mobility in both my right ankle as well as my mid-back (which continues to be stiff).

It’s been an interesting process trying to determine which parts of my body could work better in my favor. I started going to physical therapy mainly because of pain in my left hip and foot, but now I find that the right side could really use some work. The right ankle issue is because I have a lot of scar tissue there from an injury many years ago. I have trouble pointing my right foot and doing heel raises on that side. Sarah gave me some ways of stretching the ankle to try to loosen up the motion of the calcaneus.

Basically, we are working on getting some side-to-side motion for that joint, as if the heel bone was fish-tailing side to side. I sit back on my heels with my toes stretched out, try to pull the foot bones away from the ankle, and then work on that fish-tail motion. These were definitely uncomfortable, but they seemed to help.

As I am wont to do, I promptly tried this idea out on the ice too by trying to imagine that my heel bone was moving in the same path as the end of my blade (but away from the rest of the foot). This is a hard sensation to describe, but it makes a big difference in my stability. Basically, it felt like my skating foot is longer on the ice, that my weight is slightly farther back, and that I have more control over my blade.

This has been a much better week, thank goodness. I have been doing my off-ice exercises regularly, and this has helped too. I wouldn’t say I’m completely 100% confident, but at least I’m not feeling stalled out.

Here’s a picture of my forward outside loops, which are improving, I think.


And a recording of Rostropovich playing Schubert’s Arpeggione with Britten (yes, that Britten), which probably can’t be improved on:

Lesson notes:

  • Two foot rockers: think about axis and where you are facing
  • Perimeter stroking: lobe direction (start progressive later); eliminate kick of right free leg
  • Inside mohawk step forward on inside, inside rocker (two foot okay), step forward, repeat
  • Open outside Mohawks: work on aligned hip position, circles (think about where you are facing)
  • Swing roll, flat, inside, inside mohawk, push back step forward, repeat: hip position over standing foot, rotate into free arm


Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Hips are A-okay!

  1. Hi Jo – so happy to hear that your hips are feeling good! You have some lovely tracings – they are all so uniform! Please teach me how to do that. 🙂


  2. Thanks, Eva! Glad the picture made the tracing look uniform–they’ve gone through many, many different shapes along the way!


  3. I like those forward outside loops!– something that I cannot do. Your thoughts on your heel and your side-to-side foot mobility remind me of a tip from Ty that I’m using on my back progressives. It’s keeping the foot turned out strongly on the push and using the heel just as you use the front part of the foot on forward pushes. It stays on the ice longer and is the last thing to push off to get the most power. Keeping the foot well-turned out and pushing gives me a whole different kind of workout on those back progressives, and I’m getting better edges and power.


  4. I love that tip, Mary! It really helps get the weight where it belongs (I tend to tip forward, fearing falling backwards). I’ve been working on back progressive a TON and will have to make this a regular reminder. Thanks!


  5. Hi Jo–thanks, as always for sharing music. Glad your body is cooperating. I’ve been off skates for over two weeks–I’m sure I’ll have lots of complaining body parts when I resume next week!


  6. George, good to hear from you and to know that you’re resuming skating soon. I’ll have a month off when all is said and done this summer. So I’ll feel the consequences of vacation, too. Hope you have fun with the Fiesta!


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