This Article is About
ankles
lower leg muscles
muscle tension
pointe shoes
maximum movement
toe shoes
safe way
Get More Flexible Ankles For Pointe Exercise
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If you don't have the ballet banana-feet that looks like dancing in pointe shoes should be so easy, you desperately want to get more flexible ankles. Traditional ways, like sticking your feet under a couch or piano, and then stretching your ankle area by straightening your knees, pretty well makes physiotherapists and other musculo-skeletal doctors feel like throwing up.

When I say banana feet, I mean the hyper-mobile jointed feet that simply point, bend over and look domed on top, that has somehow become the ballet to-die-for foot. Anna Pavlova had feet like that, yet if you look at photos of her, you will see that she is firmly on the platform of her pointe shoes, with her ankle joints well in control.

But I get it. Even if you have feet that will rise up en pointe to get onto the platform of your toe shoes, you want more. You want to make more of a curve from your ankle joint down to your toe tips, even if you do not have the dome of an arch on top of your foot. For that, you cannot create. It is whatever you were born with.

So, Get More Flexible Ankles The Safe Way

Take into account the muscle tension in your lower legs, your ankle area and the sole of your foot muscles. To be perfectly accurate, muscle tension starts at the top, in your scalp, and travels down your body, all the way to your toes. But right now the focus is to relieve muscle tension in the back of the calves, and in the shins. Because this muscle tension will prevent the maximum movement in your ankle joint from happening.

What Causes Excess Tension In The Lower Legs

Weak muscles in the sole of the foot cause your lower leg muscles to work harder, creating strain and tension. The more your foot muscles are trained, and the stronger they get, the more control you have, and the less your lower leg muscles have to pinch-hit.

Tension leads to more tension: tense calves means that your demi plie may not be extended to its depth. This in turn will affect many of your ballet movements. It may also lead to tension in the front of the calves, causing shin splints. The worst effect would be inflammation in the Achilles tendon. So, avoid!

Before An Ankle Stretch, Massage To Release Tension

There is no point stretching tense muscles. To relax the front and back of your calf and ankle area, you can massage with your hands. Using lotion, move your thumbs or your fingers up the calves, from the ankle, front and back. You will feel the tension release.

You can also use a rubber ball, like a Pinkie Ball. Sitting on the floor, legs stretched, place it under the top of the calf and roll it down the leg to the ankle. You can exert pressure at tender spots, but not too much. The more you practice this, the more the muscles will release.

For the shin muscles, kneel and sit back on your feet. Place the ball under one shin, below the knee, and again, work it down the leg slowly. You will release the tension in the muscles that go down to and over the top of the foot.

NOW You Can Stretch Your Ankle Joint

Still sitting on your feet, put one hand under one knee at a time, and lift the knee up a couple of inches. You will feel a stretch at the ankle joint, going down over the top of the foot. Hold it for ten seconds, don't bounce it or pull harder. Release the knee, and repeat on the other side. You can do this three times each side.

Consistency counts more than anything. Release tension first, always, and then do the gentle stretch. This way, with patience, you will get more flexible ankles for pointe exercise.


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