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Cramps when pointing the feet!


miss.pointe
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I feel this is such a silly basic question but have to ask considering the amazing wealth of knowledge out there on BalletcoForum!

 

I don't remember having a problem with cramps when I took dance class as a child/teenager. Since my return to ballet as an adult, it's something that happens quite a bit. I find myself not making such a strong point as my foot will often cramp up. Since I've been pregnant this has gotten worse and while it could be due to pregnancy as cramps are common anyway, I feel it's more because I am dancing less and so pointing my feet less.

 

What could this be? Am I not warming up enough? Is my foot not strong enough? And what can I do to help?

 

Thanks for helping a slightly embarrassed questioner!! :)

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There is no such thing as a silly question.

 

Some things to think about.....

 

Check your regular shoes - are they supportive? resiliant? allow your foot to fully articulate when you walk?  Are you keeping your calves stretched as you go through the day?

 

You certainly can do more of a warm up before class - and it wouldn't be a bad idea to do some warmups (ankle rollsl, pointe and flex, etc) when you are sitting and reading - watching TV - or typing on Ballet.co!

 

One thing I found to be really helpful is eating a banana everyday.  Bananas have lots of potassium (and other good things) and I know that it works for me.  Actually, the first thing I eat in the morning - even before breakfast - is a banana.  Nothing has worked as well.

 

And make sure after class that you keep your calves and feet stretched and flexed. 

 

Don't compare yourself to what you were like when you took ballet class as a child or teen.  You are an entirely different person now.

 

I had quite a number of preggies in my adult class - and everyone of them loved the class and thought it was a great help to them.

 

Lots of luck!  I hope I've said something here which helps.

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You don't say how long you have been "back to ballet".....there is a whole topic thread on this called "Going Back to Ballet"(under the general "doing Dance " topic.

 

Anyway you say you are pregnant so can't answer any particular problems related to this

However when I first returned to,ballet after a 22year gap I was continually getting cramps either in the feet or calf muscles. It was very annoying because Imhad to keep stopping etc and had to stop dong any rises at all as as soon as I went on demi...a cramp was likely!! I don't know the exact scientific reason for this(lactic acid build up and all that) but I assumed it was pure lack of practice!! Gradually after a few months it just stopped and I assume this was because the muscles were just getting stronger...and now two years later it rarely happens.

 

I can vouch for bananas too. Again I don't know why but Imsuddenly felt attracted to eating them more and if I have an early class then if nothing else I know I can get through the class if Ive eaten a banana bought on the run so to speak! (though porridge with banana is better!) Obviously if you've been doing ballet for a while now there may be some other problem......by the way it took me 6 months before I could do a full plié and about a year before a plié in fourth position!!

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I'd agree with Anjuli about checking your regular footwear too.  Your feet may be doing something in them which is predisposing them to cramp when you're dancing - could be the heel height, angle of the instep relative to the ball of the foot, all sorts of things.  I had a similar problem only recently when I was wearing heeled boots after a while of being in flats.

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Thanks for the advice all! Good point about the regular footwear which I will think about more in the future. I eat bananas like nothing else, so I think I have enough potassium from them.

 

taxi4ballet - I'm sure pregnancy is affecting it, too, although I've had this problem before I was pregnant.

 

And LinMM - I've been back to ballet for nearly two years.

 

I've also thought since I posted that it may be because I curl my toes under me when I point instead of naturally pointing through the whole foot - just a tendency I have which I have to concentrate on to correct. I'm going to think smarter about this and see if it happens more when I wear my split soles than a full sole dance shoe - that would explain a lot :)

 

Thanks everyone!!

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here's my two cents worth. I used to get bad foot cramps doing tendus. Then I started wearing heavy socks over my ballet slippers for the first few exercises in class and it was like a miracle. No cramps. I told someone else who was having the same problem and it worked for her too. I rarely get foot cramps now but I think that's  a result of taking more ballet classes in the week so my feet are stronger and more used to being pointed.

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Thanks everyone - I'm sure pregnancy could be making it worse (or adding other factors in) but it's been happening before I got pregnant. The heavy socks idea sounds interesting, toursenlair, and would second what I though about split sole/full sole perhaps having an impact. To be investigated :)

 

Lovely to be back on the forum :)

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I hardly use salt at all and neither did my mother when she cooked for us. I think I was sickling my foot but my ballet teacher stopped it very quickly, so theoretically it should stopped then.

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Funnily enough someone once told me to have more salt when I got calf cramps at night. Interesting. Of course, my diet could have changed over the years and different things affect at different times of life :)

 

A classic suggestion for night-time calf cramps is tonic water; apparently the quinine helps (I suppose bitter lemon would have the same effect). I believe mixing the tonic with gin has no deleterious effect on the cramp-reducing :D

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A classic suggestion for night-time calf cramps is tonic water; apparently the quinine helps (I suppose bitter lemon would have the same effect). I believe mixing the tonic with gin has no deleterious effect on the cramp-reducing :D

 

Sounds delicious! Although I reckon at the moment being preggers the gin WOULD have some effect :D

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