Jillian Kelly’s Success Story

Jillian Dances Her Heart Out

Dancing ballet is as physically demanding as it is beautiful. Limited mobility can not only hinder an ensemble, where uniformity is key, but also lead to pain or injury. While foot and ankle injuries may be among the most common in dancers (Trentacosta et al. 2017), hip and back problems are more common than you think (Khan et al, 1995), specifically due to the extreme range of motion required in the artistic sport. Ballet training puts an emphasis on hip abduction and external rotation, therefore creating a distinctive myriad of hip issues (Curley et al. 2022).

A lover of dance, Jillian came in at 17, with hip mobility issues of her own. She’d been experiencing popping, low back pain, and mobility limitations, making leg extensions in adagio (développé), balances, jumps and leaps, difficult for her.

“I’ve never been the most flexible dancer in my group, but as a team, we needed to look uniform so only being able to have my leg at 90 degrees, felt like I was letting my team down. I had also not been able to improve my flexibility in years, and not seeing progress was frustrating.”

She had tried at-home remedies like a massage gun, and stretching with a foam roller, but neither really helped. She thought everything she was experiencing was normal, and wouldn’t have even come in if it weren’t for Kim offering assessments at the dance studio. Kim showed her that what she was experiencing was fixable but definitely not normal and could lead to further problems if left unchecked.

Upon assessment, our Stretch Mobility Coach (SMC) Jordan discovered joint restriction in Jillian’s hips and low back, causing compensation and overuse of her pelvis and lumbar region.

Jillian received TSM hands-on low back and hip protocol that included TSM manual therapy techniques, and stabilization techniques. After treatment, she was able to lift her leg above 90 degrees without compensation! Giving her the ability to keep up with her team by leaps and bounds (literally)! To prevent the problem from coming back, we continued with hands-on treatment to fix her joint restrictions while strengthening and stabilizing the surrounding muscles.

Then, to maintain her progress, she worked with Jordan in one-on-one functional training before joining our  TSM maintenance member program, which she’s continued with for the last 2 years. “I now know that my body had been using the wrong muscles to produce certain movements, and that was due to improper training. I’ve learned that flexibility and strength are correlated more than most people think, and the proper form on common exercises that will decrease the risk of injury.“

“The best part about working with the coaches is that they are knowledgeable and able to explain what should be happening in each exercise in a way that makes sense… I am also able to go to them with injuries/pain that may not be related to my original injury and they always treated that. They also make an effort to get to know me as a person and my goals, and know how to get me there.”

She loved how much we were able to help her that she’s now pursuing in pre-physical therapy program at UC, and obtained her personal training certification.