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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Safely stretching feet


Chronus24

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Surprisingly, I found no previous threads about this, so:

 

My friend and I have adopted a mutual goal of stretching and strengthening our feet and ankles (more so on his part than mine). So far, I've amassed a good number of foot and ankle strengthening and articulation exercises, some with therabands and some with no resistance at all, to better develop supple lower leg and intrinsic foot muscles. But I'm kinda stuck on ideas of how to go about properly and safely stretching the foot and ankle. Like any dancer, I've seen the typical anterior ankle stretch where one person lengthens and extends the ankle joint of another person sitting on the ground, however I've always had a concern about the pressure it places on the heel as the foot is being pressed into the ground. I'm also not a fan of the "under a couch" method, or the "kneeling on your knees" method since they afford less control over the stretch. Perhaps my concerns are unfounded, but does anyone have any ideas on how to safely stretch the feet and ankle? And there are two of us so it wouldn't have to be a solo exercise, if that helps.

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You've expressed all of my concerns about stretching with a partner neatly. I really believe that stretching the feet is a matter best done by the student himself, as the limits are immediately obvious, and the exercise backed off, should pain occur. I'm going to move this over to Young Dancers', as the concern is equal opportunity.

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I'm surprised that there isn't more here in terms of response, too.

 

I think that the safest way to do foot stretches is simply manipulation. Just sit down and use your hands to stretch over the instep, or flex the foot and stretch the plantar structures. You can also use a theraband, as you have complete control of the tension with it, and can release if the stretch turns into ouch!

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  • 1 month later...

The problem with using an inanimate partner in stretching is that it won't do anything if you say "ouch"! It may seem that you can disentangle yourself from such a situation, but I've seen students get their feet wedged under things and damage happens. It happened to me in my teen years, with the sofa. My left foot was never quite right ever after.

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You could put a pillow under the heel which is what is do although it is not really "safe" or you could stretch them in soft pointe shoes. If you are stretching them with your friend I'd make sure that you can trust him to go really slowly and stop exactly when you tell him to and always warm up!!!

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My right foot has a lot more arch than my left foot. Is that normal to have a big difference between the right foot and the left foot?

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I use a cool foot stretcher I bought on ebay. It wasn't that expensive, and I use it everyday before class. I put it under my bed, so the only problem is that I can't bring it to the studio.

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