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Foot Pain, Sports Shoes, Ballet Dancing And Cheer Leaders

Foot pain, particularly foot arch pain, can cripple cheer leaders and students in ballet dancing. Athletes of all kinds, and runners specifically, also experience foot pain if they do not wear adequate sports shoes.

Well before ballet dancers go to buy pointe shoes, before cheer leaders get into dance competitions and athletes run marathons, the feet in those wonderful pointe shoes, jazz shoes, Nikes, Air Jordans et al, need to be understood and well trained. Before any special kind of athletic shoes, the dancer, cheerleader or athlete needs to understand:

  • how to place the body weight on the bare foot
  • how to do special intrinsic foot (exclusive to the sole of the foot) exercises
  • what is pronation and how can you prevent knee injuries
  • what is correct ballet turnout – studied by professional football players by the way…
  • how does pelvic posture, and the strength of your  core muscles prevent low back pain and all sports injuries
  • relaxation techniques that work for all athletes

Are you serious about a career in professional ballet? Or a recreational dancer, cheer leader or athlete who just loves life more when you participate? I cannot emphasize enough how much understanding of the anatomy and function of the foot muscles (and of course all your muscles!) will help you achieve professional success or personal goals. A few hours of reading, watching videos and viewing some photos and x-rays of feet will greatly increase your enjoyment of,  and the results that you get in ballet dancing, cheer leading and running.

For example, one common ballet and sports injury is shin splints. Shin splints may result from exercising on a hard surface. But also what is common, is that the foot muscles are weak and the lower leg muscles, the calves and the shin, or tibial muscles, are “pinch-hitting” for the foot control and strength that you lack.

A few easy to learn foot muscles, done six days a week (always rest!), will eliminate the sprains and strains of the shins and calf muscles. These are exercises that you can do while wearing your shoes, sitting in school, watching tv, waiting for the bus, utilizing time in grid lock traffic, and all the other occasions when you feel like you could be doing something to make it easier on yourself.

Here is an example of one you can do right now, “Toe Swapping”:

  • seated, place both feet flat on the floor
  • make sure your feet are level, meaning both the big toe and little toe touches the floor, feet relaxed
  • pick up your big toes, as high off the floor as you can, leaving the other four toes on the floor
  • hold for ten seconds
  • lower the big toes, and then pick up the other four toes, leaving the big toes on the floor
  • do not tip the foot outwards or inwards
  • hold the four toes up for ten seconds, then place them down
  • repeat ten times, and after a week, twenty times

You may get cramps in your foot muscles when you are building strength in this exercise. Here is one of a few very good relaxation techniques:

  • using a golf ball, tennis ball or sports Pinkie Ball, roll it around under your feet, one at a time.
  • press it into sore spots, and hold it in place.
  • feel some tension release
  • repeat this relaxation technique often

You can learn how to prevent foot pain by understanding how to do all your ballet barre exercises correctly.

And why do I recommend this excellent dance education book? Because having the best pointe shoes, the right jazz shoes and the most excellently designed sports shoes DOES NOT MATTER if your feet are not strong, and if you do not know how to make them strong. But you can!


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