The Dancer's Foot and Ankle

Have you ever been in relevé and felt a strong cramping sensation in the bottom of your foot (a.k.a. plantar muscle)? This is known as a muscle cramp most commonly due to de-conditioned feet, overuse, or faulty technique. I cannot stress enough that good solid technique will save you from many injuries. Your technique is your core, which means you need to use your whole body to dance. If you do not have a strong core some body parts WILL wear out thus leading to injuries.

The dancers foot is like the painters hand. You must know how your foot works in order to create the dance that you want!

De-conditioned feet

When working with new choreography and/or exercise, this may cause your feet to react with cramping and pain. Taking your time and working with your feet in mind will help you not only connect you to them, but also help them build strength for the work needed. You must build up strength and endurance which means consistency with dance and training. A professional athlete in any sport must maintain their conditioning all year round. Now you may have injuries that sideline you for some period of time. Staying conditioned is just as important to your technique! Train it or lose it!

Overuse

Always listen to your body and know when you are overusing it. Ignoring these signs can lead to career threatening injuries such as severe sprains, broken feet or ankles and torn muscles.

Faulty Technique

It is very important to pay attention to your whole foot when doing any relevé work. Some of the common things missed out when doing relevé are crunching toes, rolling in or out on your ankles forcing your arch, gripping your plantar muscles. All of these things can lead to the foot muscles being unnecessarily overused.

Be mindful that when you feel tired and fatigued is when technique and conditioning are very handy!

The dancers foot is like the painters hand. You must know how your foot works in order to create the dance that you want!

Faulty technique is the same as being lazy and not keeping up with training or in some cases just plain tired. You need to pay attention and 1. Do not be lazy! 2. Being tired/fatigued probably means you are overworked and more inclined to injuries. I truly understand the show must go on and that dancers are often tired due to hours and hours of training, rehearsals, shows, side jobs etc... Just be mindful that when you feel tired and fatigued is when technique and conditioning are very handy! In twelve years of taking care of dancers there is a very small number of dancers that have NOT sprained an ankle or two, three times etc... Due to this fact ankle sprains need to be treated properly. Which means get them checked out to rule out major injuries. The everyday sprain or “I rolled my ankle AGAIN Doc” needs to be stabilized. The ligaments which support the bones and joints can be strengthened through various balancing exercises. When ligaments are injured over and over they (ligaments) become overstretched, loose and therefore give less support to the foundation of your body (a.k.a. foot/ankle).

Your feet and ankles are your foundation! Keep them strong and flexible! Dance starts at the feet!

This article is information based only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any conditions discussed. Please consult your physician should you have injuries of any kind.