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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tennis balls

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Last night I wore a new ankle support on my bad ankle and by the time we were finished with plies, the muscles under my arch, especially on the lateral side, hurt so badly I had to take it off. Thank goodness for convertable tights! Typically I find this to be due to the brace correcting my ankle positioning so that different muscles are being used. What I did in the past was wear the brace more while walking to let the right muscles build back up before ballet so I'll be doing this for now.


My question is that I've read about using tennis ###### to "massage" the bottoms of the feet. Is there any special technique for this? I imagine it's just rolling the ball back and forth. Are there some other exercises I could do? Due to a recent (last Thanksgiving) and a series of childhood injuries this ankle has nearly no ability to turn laterally, i.e. wing. I'm going to look for a good ortho doctor as soon as I get new health insurance but just take it easy for now.


If you think this is better suited for the health and nutrition board, by all means move it. I was mainly looking for some casual anecdotes on the tennis ball exercises, not medical advice on the ankle since obviously that needs to be seen by a qualified doctor.

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Hi rshevin,

I do exactly as you described with the tennis ###### - roll them back and forth under my feet. I have tennis ###### in my drawer at work for just this purpose ... it feels SO good.

In the answer to your second question regarding exercises to help you wing better. I use a theraband, but it's so hard for me to describe, that you may just want to ask your teacher ...

Hope that helps a little!

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Guest pink tights

I do those tennis ball rolls in the same way. Also, in addition to tennis ######, you can buy inexpensive wooden "rollers" at places like the Body Shop. They feel great on tired/sore feet. You can work those under the toes, as the rollers are smaller. Also many bath shops sell soothing creams with peppermint--feels so nice and tingly and makes your feel smell great too.

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Yep, roll them under your feet.


Rather than the tennis ball, I prefer the spiky ball. (Hope I'm not breaking any rules here, a picture can be found here) However I suppose you can still use the tennis ball on what I usually use the spiky ball for:


I would start standing, feet parallel hip width apart. Then put the ball under one foot, and put your weight onto the ball. If you are not used to it it might feel uncomfortable, and you can adjust the "impact" by how much weight you are putting on it. Roll it around slowly, and you can really put weight on the bits where they feel tight, and the spikes should help you loosen up the muscles.


Do it for quite a while (take your time!), until you are satisfied that you have thoroughly massged your foot, then put your foot back on the floor, and feel the muscles relax into the floor. (It's the "Hhhhhmmmm" moment, it will feel really nice!)


Then repeat on other foot.


I find that it feels the nicest after a class with killer petite allegro combos :)


Hope that helps!



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I was doing so well with my tennis ball but it appears to have been stolen by my cat (!) so I had to take a break. I'll remember to avoid those spikey ones Mr. Johnson. Just in case I come across them. I can't wait until I have a good orthopaedic doctor. This ankle is driving me nuts. It doesn't hurt, it just isn't right.

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:) Off topic for feet...


I have a new PT for some back problems. She had me tape two tennis ###### together with duct tape, and lie on them so they straddle the backbone - then slide up and down. Works those muscles pretty hard! :wub:


For feet, if I am at the portable barre the legs (2 inch/50mm diameter) are just right for relieving the plantar fascia between long tendu exercises...

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On topic for tennis ###### though! :)


I like to use tennis ###### to work out knots in my (very tight) calves. I just sit on the floor and roll my calf over the tennis ball. When I started this was incredibly painful (I could barely rest my calf on the ball - rolling was right out) but as I worked them regularly I got them to the point where I can roll over the ball with only mild discomfort.


I like the spine roller - I'll have to try that. I imagine that the ###### touch at one point, right, and the tape makes it look sort of like an '8', and the narrow center fits over the backbone?

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I like the spine roller - I'll have to try that. I imagine that the ###### touch at one point, right, and the tape makes it look sort of like an '8', and the narrow center fits over the backbone?

Yes, that's it exactly. The idea is to lay back and let the upper spind bend in the opposite direction from slumping over a hot keyboard :shrug:


I had a massage guy who suggested doing this with a single tennis ball, first on one side of the spine, then the other. His idea was to massage the spinal muscles. The force is VERY concentrated! :( - I can't take it with full weight yet.

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