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Achilles and Ballet


Balletmad97
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I don't know if anyone else has had this problem but I find when I go en pointe my achilles tendon really start to pull. I read somewhere that it has something to do with high arches which I have never had an issue with before. Has anyone got any experience of this or know any excersises that may help strengthen it.

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Does the "really starts to pull" happen while up on pointe or when you're feet are fully on the ground?

 

Some basic things to think about:

 

The fit of the shoes - especially for a highly arched foot which needs support.

 

Be sure to be fully warmed up before pointe work. This means to start slowly and gradually build up speed and height (flat/demi-pointe/pointe).

 

Exercises should include as much plié as relevé.

 

Is this a new problem?

 

What does your teacher say?

 

How long have you been on pointe?

 

At what point in your class do you feel this begin? When you are fresh? or tired? doing something fast?

 

Does it hurt?

 

Does it continue after class is over?

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People with high arches usually have weaker feet and ankles so strengething exercises such as heel raises, toe curls and theraband work will reduce the strain on your achilles. I had problems when I first started pointework and I found that although the aching lessened as I got stronger the thing that really helped was switching my normal ribbons for the bloch ones that have elastic inserts. I really can't recommend these highly enough, they still provide plenty of suppot but have enough give to not put pressure on the achilles.

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Yes, my DD has always used the Bloch Elastorib as she used to get periodic achilles tendonitis. I must say it's improved greatly since she was diagnosed as overpronating and fitted with orthotics. The orthotics, Elastorib, stretches and strengthening exercises have sorted the problem now.

 

We also stitch through the drawstring of her pointe and ballet shoes at the back of her shoes either side of the back seam, so that when the drawstring is tightened, it doesn't tighten across the achilles. That was on the advice of a dance physio.

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Yes, inserting elastics into the ribbons where they cross over the back of the ankle does help. You can do this yourself. You can also stitch across the front of the shoe from side seam to side seam -- over the arch of the foot - which gives you more support.

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Yes I agree with most of you about the strengthening exercises and the elastorib I will look into that. I am such a big fan of Bloch anyway. In answer to anjulibai I have been on pointe for a year and a bit so now we have started doing more advanced work I have noticed this "pull" it tends to be while I am on pointe but sometimes it can hurt for a bit after. I talked to the teacher about it who recommended pulling up from the thighs rather than the ankle and some other exercises. Thanks for all the advice everyone.

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Yes, I agree with your teacher - pulling up through the thighs is always a good idea. If it is while on pointe that you feel this then it has to do with the contraction of the Achilles. I would suggest that you spend some time after class is over in gently stretching it out so that it relaxes. Try to wear flat shoes - or only a very low heel (very low) for your every day activities.

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  • 1 year later...

Do your calf muscles ache? Is the back of your heel and ankle swollen or tight?

 

  • Proper foot support to reduce excessive stretching
  • Wear shoes with adequate support
  • Decrease, or in severe cases suspend physical activity
  • Avoid uphill climbs
  • Apply ice after activity
  • Avoid excessive stretching which can worsen the condition
  • Add arch supports to shoes
  • Raise the heel with heel cups, cradles or slightly higher shoes
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