In a ballet dance class, there are many types and shapes of feet and some may experience foot arch pain more easily than others. If you have foot pain during or after ballet or your contemporary dance classes, I will help you understand some of the causes of foot pain in dance training. There are classical technique tips on how to use the foot and arch muscles properly , that will make it easier for you to enjoy years of dance, no matter the style you study.
the tripod foot
pronation - not holding turnout
not relaxing and stretching
over use of lower leg, weak foot muscles
Pronation - called "rolling ankles" in dance. Your inner feet collapse toward the floor. This puts strain on the knee joints, as well as all the tiny joints in your feet. Often this can be corrected by simply learning how to hold your turnout better in the rotator muscles at the back of the pelvis area. As the legs turn out, the inner foot lifts a little, without evoking tension in the ankle muscles.
Also, the amount of tension it takes to activate your arch muscles is small, and yet can help support the feet. This does not mean pulling the arches way up from the floor, resulting in tension at the front of the ankles. If you do this, you will see the tendon at the ankle joint stick out.
The tripod foot is a term meant to describe the placement of your body weight on the ball of the foot, the little toe joint area, and the heel. Getting the weight just right will help you feel that the foot muscles are activated, but not tense.
Relaxing and stretching your feet can be achieved with rolling a golf ball or a Pinkie Ball, pressing into the foot muscles, used under the foot and on top. You'll feel a release of tension, and do not push too hard. It's better to do this more often, rather than harder.
The softer Pinkie Ball is used to stretch the ankle joint like this: sitting on your feet, place the ball under your tibia or shin muscle, below your knee. You may feel tension or tenderness as you work the ball down the leg to the ankle, pushing into it to release tension. This prepares you for a gentle and safe ankle joint and muscle stretch, to give your more flexibility and a better point of the foot.
Now you can place the ball under the metatarsal area, just above the foot joints (closer to the ankle), and gently press into the ball. You will feel a delicious stretch over your arch and ankle area. Repeat on the other side.
Weak sole of the foot muscles will cause over-use of the lower leg muscles. This will result in tension and a decrease in the depth of your demi plie. I hope the above helped you, and a visual dancer's guide is available to make all this clearer to you. Visit us to view all the correct ways to improve your ballet technique and avoid foot arch pain .