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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Short/tight achilles tendons


drives2much

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Get your daughter to a good physical therapist who works with professional ballet dancers. Often this problem is due to growth "spurts" and the muscles, ligaments and tendons haven't had a chance to catch up to the bone growth in the legs. There are definitely exercises for loosening the muscles and proper stretching but it's important to learn the correct way to do these things. Massaging the calf muscles can also be very helpful - again it's important to know exactly how and what to do. I speak from experience. :devil: I'm sure others will chime in, too.

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Thanks, BW. This condition is most noticeable when her teacher asks her to go lower into her plie before she turns, but she tells me that she is going as far as she can. She has heard this before, but it has become noticeable again. She has grown an inch in the last couple months, so this would definitley be a contributing factor. Now, off to find a physical therapist that works with dancers.......

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We were able to contact the local professional company and ask them if there was a physical therapist that they could recommend. It turns out that the P.T. that they suggested even took out health insurance!

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drives2much,

Dd has had this problem (last summer) and we happened to ask a new teacher who took her aside and showed her how to stretch properly - she also noticed that dd had really tight calves. She showed dd some stretches and told us to massage the calves. Dd has been keeping up with these stretches and making sure her calves are not knotted up - she has not had any problems since.

 

Although, I agree contacting a good pt is the answer - to be sure the stretches are the right ones for your dd.

 

Good luck,

Lily

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And then of course, there is the unthinkable: Good, soft, squooshy demi-pliés done while releasing all tension through the foot and ankle. :pinch:

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It's not the depth of the plié but how well it is used that matters. If one learns to relax into the plie, and not hold tension in the feet (like Mr. Johnson said), or the legs, and understands the concept of rebound, then the amount of plié she has should work very well. It is, however, important to keep the calves free of knots and tightening, so a lot of calf stretching is helpful, as well as massage.

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Interesting to hear all of this... My daughter is going through the same thing.

She went to see a PT last spring who measured how much her feet flexed as well as many other measurements when she was evaluating her. She must have told dd to relax and let her push back her feet into a flexed position three times before dd said she was relaxed and that's as far as they go. PT worked with her a little on this, however we were there for another reason which went away and then so did our insurance.

Her Chiropractor this year has her doing stretching exercises which are the same ones her ballet teachers have suggested. She also watched her walk and said she walks more on the ###### of her feet and toes and needs to conciously walk through her heels. She has grown at least four inches since this time last year so I guess she comes by this very honestly. Her jumps are suffering but hopefully with some more stretching and now we'll try the massage too, she'll get her jumps and plies back. If anyone has any specific stretches that can be explained in writing, we would love to hear them. Thanks!!

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sqmca, with that kind of growth going on, there is really nothing to do but wait until she stops. Everything will change. They go through all kinds of problems while dealing with growth spurts. Best she doesn't do too much jumping until that is over, if she is having any physical problems at all.

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AHA! No wonder!

 

Yes, after a stretch of four inches, a considerable amount of relative tightness will be encountered. And the idea of rebound in the demi-plié is what gives it the squooshy quality - going into the plié by thinking "up" and coming up from it by pushing "down" on the floor. You don't want to get stuck at the bottom! Release and rebound! :)

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