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Ballet Talk for Dancers

FOOT CRAMPS!


kasaba

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Maybe some of you more experienced people can help me. I have been having problems with cramping in my left foot when I point my toe. I have upped my potassium intake (3 tablets daily + sometimes a banana), drink plenty of water, and wear extra socks to keep the foot warm; all have helped, but it still sometimes causes problems. I do tend to sickle a little, if that has anything to do with it. Help! :wub:

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Mel Johnson

As you are an adult beginner and have a sickle, it's going to take awhile to retrain things to correct that sickle. Cramps are going to be with you for quite awhile during this stage. Extra potassium, in the most tasty forms, like bananas or orange juice is a step in the right direction, as is making sure that you stay well hydrated.

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Good luck. Personally, I think that things like cramps in the foot are just weird body sensations that are difficult to understand.

 

I’d bet against any nutritional cause, but then I’m quite biased against nutritional solutions to physical problems. Same with respect to temperature.

 

I’ve occasionally had a cramp (usually left foot also by the way) when doing the first tendu exercise in class despite doing lots of tendus before class as a warm-up. My solution is to just relax the foot more (after perhaps a quick flex and slow articulation to a point to relieve the cramp), which always seems to do the trick, and I tend to be fine after that. I seem to get a cramp in the foot most often during my warm-up after doing a cobra stretch or bow stretch. I consequently attribute the cause of the cramp to something in my back, so I accept the phenomenon and forget it.

 

As with all weird sensations, my suggestion is to experiment with different solutions. Since you take supplements, you most likely believe in nutritional approaches. Belief in an approach often results in a “cure,” (it’s called the placebo effect). Eventually, with experimentation you will be more an expert on your cramp than any so-called expert.

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Guest latestarter

I have high arches and flexible ankles and my feet tend to cramp when I am "overly tense." I find that simply relaxing and allowing a more natural point alleviates the cramp and prevents additional ones from coming on. When a cramp does come on, I think of pointing from my ankle instead of forcing the point from my arch, this helps.

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WendyMichelle

I'm not a beginner, but my classes lately have left my feet really tired, sore, and achey. Perhaps try freezing a water bottle and after classes rolling your feet over it. Or I went to the sports section of K-Mart this week and bought a pack of three tennis ###### (one for work, one for home, and one for my dance bag) and a pack of four rubbery ###### that have rubber spikes on them. Since the tennis ball is harder it helps to get some of the cramping and knots out, and the rubbery spiked ball feels sort of like a massage on the soles of the feet.

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I massage my feet and move my toes with my hands before every class... My feet just don't bend as easily as ten years ago without some massage.

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Guest Suffolk_pointe_dancer

I'm not an adult dancer, however I tend to get cramps in my feet as well, usually during the beginning of class when I am feeling lazy and sitting in my shoes. Once I start to pull my body up and stop sitting in the shoes, I tend to get cramps in the arches of both of my feet. I find that if you relax a bit and concentrate on making it as natural as possible they go away. I hope that helps you.

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I used to get terrible foot and toe cramps until I started doing a lot of warming up my feet before class and before starting to tendu - pushing the toes against the floor, rising up and down on each foot in turn etc. My circulation to toes and fingers isn't great, so maybe it's related to a tendency to cramp.

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dancinqueen812

When I get foot cramps and others in class do this as well if there is a portable barre we massage (move our feet around) on the base of the barre. the thing that supports it

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Princess_at_heart

I have started getting an almost constant cramp in my foot this week. (My left foot, too. Wierd!) The only thing that I can think of that I am doing different is I'm really trying not to pronate. Could not rolling in when one ususally does cause one's foot to cramp?

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Sure...Every time I have a technical breakthrough where I make an adjustment...things get cranky and sore. Just heed your body's messages, don't force or overdo anything, and ask your teachers to take a look at the technique, to make sure you're adjusting properly.

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Have you tried taking off your shoes and having your teacher look at your feet while you are doing barre? You might be doing something like gripping your toes on that side when you point....

I stretch my calves more if I start with the foot cramps. Sometimes it helps.

I got toe cramps once when my slippers were too tight as well. It took a few classes to figure out what the trouble was. All I needed then was a little wiggle room to relax my toes when standing flat.

 

Laschwen

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danceforjoy

I was getting terrible foot cramps (also in my left foot - what is going on here!!) for quite a while when I came back to ballet after 9 months out. In the end, it turned out that I wasn't pointing my left toes properly - instead of being really long, the second and third toes sort of scrunched. The same thing was happening while I was standing on that leg - gripping the floor for grim death!! It's taking me ages to sort out, because I think it got into my muscle memory while I wasn't looking ... but it's definitely put a stop to the cramps.

 

So like Laschwen says, probably best to get your teacher to have a look without your shoes. Hope it helps you - I know it's really frustrating when you have to keep stopping because your foot's gone into spasm!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Krissydancer

I like to roll my foot over a tennis ball after and before class to massage the arches. It's also a good trick if you sit for a large portion of the day.

 

Tennis ###### are the best kept massage secret around!

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