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stretching the achilles tendon

pittsburgh ballet theatre 08

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so get this,


whenever i have a class, master class, or summer intensive. i always get the same correction. its either get my heels down when i jump or use my plie more to jump. and its really hard for me cuz i have short achilles and since im still growing the tendons tend to get tighter and its harder for me.


so my question is, what stretches i can do to stretch out my achilles or what can i use to stretch? or do i need to wait til i stop growing?

Edited by pittsburgh ballet theatre 08
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My daughter has a short achilles on one foot. We went to an orthopedic foot specialist who treats many dancers. His achilles stretch was to drop the heels from a step and let them hang without bouncing. Do that several times a day for a few moments.


I hope that helps!









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Uh...hushinfazen, this is the men's forum. It's a lot like the men's club room, you may be able to see what's going on, but actually going in is a little :lol: .


That said, yes, that stretch works well, as does the "runner's stretch" in 4th position neutral and slowly transferring the weight with demi-plié onto the front foot, while leaving the back foot where it is, with the heel on the floor. And remember, no bounce! Bouncing is uncontrolled for the most part, and when uncontrolled, that's when accidents happen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You may also have a tight plantar fascia, a large tendon in the foot. It would not hurt to speak with a podiatrist.

Edited by Mel Johnson
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Without seeing you, it is difficult to say what exactly is going on, but my sense is that failing to get your heels to the floor and insufficient plie on landing is more a habit than a result of unusually short Achilles tendons. The two are also related. If you don’t get your heels on the ground, you are highly unlikely to do a sufficient plie.


Males usually jump higher than females, so when when doing a fast petit allegro males tend also to get behind, which in turn causes us to not get the heels to the floor.


My thought is to think of every jump as consisting of three phases: take-off (contact with the ground), in the air, and landing (again contact with the ground). For a while totally forget about what happens in the air and think only how your feet are interacting with the floor. Don’t jump high either. Think of jumps as exercises for the feet rather than real jumps also. Once you get in the habit of using the feet properly, then you can think of the in the air phase of a jump.


About those short Achilles tendons you think you have. My question is how you would ever know if that were true?

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i think its true because im not getting a good enough of a plie when during barre and it gets harder (especially right now since i grew like half an inch).

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I dunno... gripping in the arch of the foot (across from the achilles tendon) can also prevent a full plie.

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Yes, indeed, it holds generally that the dancer has to release the top of the foot and the front of the ankle in order to get a good plié! :thumbsup:

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While there isn't too much that can be done for anatomically "shorter" tendons I think that there is some excellent advice here. A shorter Achilles tendon places more tension on the plantar fascia, and presumably vice versa, so keeping the plantar fascia at optimum length helps relieve some pull on the Achilles. Also, as Mel and citibob point out, excessive muscular tension can impede any movement, anywhere in the body. Isn't it ironic that relaxing, which seems so easy, can take years to master in dance training? Or maybe it's actually achieving the right balance between relaxing the antagonist muscles and engaging the prime movers that takes so long.

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If I were the teacher, how would I know whether you're doing "enough" plie in jumps? Well... I would look at the depth of your demi plie at the barre (see how far you can move your knees sideways while keeping your heels on the ground), and then look for the same depth while jumping in the center. If you don't get as deep, then I'd know you can do more, and really should be doing more for your own safety's sake.


So I think the focus doesn't need to be on stretching your tendon (which should NEVER be stretched in any case; tendons should NOT stretch), but rather on attaining your maximum demi plie when landing jumps, and on keeping your heels on the floor while doing it. That is a matter of careful control.

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