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Flat Feet And Knee Pain In Ballet
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In ballet, flat feet is not necessarily a problem. However, if a dancer is not well informed about using the arch muscles correctly, then over pronation can occur while dancing, and eventually there will be knee pain.

Flat feet are where, for some reason the arches have collapsed, and the bottoms of the feet are, literally, flat on the floor. This can happen due to the second toe being longer than the big toe. Sometimes this is an actual Morton's Foot, where the second metatarsal bone is longer than the first, but this is not always the case. You, the dancer, can learn to "activate" the arch muscles.

This means that those sole of the foot muscles are not tensed or clenched, but are working, are on, and ready to go with the next battement tendu or releve. This action will lift the inner ankle area up, and the ankle bone will now be held in place.

This support by the foot muscles puts the entire ankle joint and all the surrounding soft tissues in place, where they can function without strain. Class after class, all those dance movements will be making you stronger.

Here Is A Special Movement You Need To Take Careful Notice Of

If your foot pronates easily, when the foot leaves the floor (for a press up, releve or jump), the pressure goes from the big toe area to the second toe area, the ankle will roll inward toward the floor, and the strain of this twisting will be accommodated by the knee joint.

The inward rolling can be barely visible - but imagine how many times you do this movement in one ballet class, then multiply that by the number of classes you do per week. Just like tugging on an elastic, where you see tiny tears begin to form on the edges, you are tugging on your knee tendons and ligaments.

The purpose of your tendons and ligaments is to minimize ALL the possible twists, any which way, that can happen to your knees over the course of a day. The tighter your joints are the more protected your body is from injuries. This is something quite separate from the elasticity of your muscles, which you like to increase with ballet stretches.

Learning To Place Your Feet On The Floor And Prevent Over Pronation Protects Your Knee Joints

If you stand in front of a mirror with your legs parallel, about two inches apart, observe how this appears. Keep the legs relaxed, and let your arches flatten out. Most likely, your lower legs will turn in a little, and your ankles may quite visibly droop toward each other, or even touch.

Next, use your rotator muscles for correct ballet turnout, and rotate the lower legs until the hips, knees, and ankles are in line. This action will also affect the arches, lifting them without the muscles doing anything. But not maybe right into place, with the ankle joint in its correct position.

Add a little tension in the arches, so that your body weight can be about twenty five per cent on your heels, and the rest evenly placed at the big toe joint and the little toe joint. Also, this small amount of working tension should make you feel like you could easily rise, or transfer the weight and extend one leg out.

Now do a slow rise, and make sure that as you do so, the angle of the foot and the ankle do not change. If you were to do every demi plie and consequent releve or jump like this, and come back down the same way, you would not develop knee pain.

Understanding the details of ballet movements in this way helps you avoid flat feet and knee pain.


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