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Strong ankles


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Maybe this is a dumb question but how do you know if your ankles are strong enough for point work? Is there a way to tell by looking? Is is just how well you can releve and or point your feet? Or is it both? Are strong ankles thicker or thinner?

If I sprained my ankle 20 years ago, is my ankle weaker because of that?

Is it advisible to wear high heels or does this affect the ankle strenght atall?

Basically put, what ARE strong ankles?

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You know, that is a good question, come to think of it. I'm not sure how to answer it but, when you feel as solid and sturdy in releve, and especially releve passe, as you do when standing flat on your feet, it's safe to say you have strong ankles.


I will say this - that is where I felt it the most, when I started pointe. It surprised me because I'd assumed it would be the feet. I think the only way to strengthen them is by doing zillions of releves.

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If I sprained my ankle 20 years ago, is my ankle weaker because of that?


I did sprain my ankle 20 years ago, and according to my PT those ligaments are forever slightly stretched out now. I have to be very careful to maintain strength to keep from spraining it again, and I do notice a difference in stability between my good and bad ankles.


Je Suis Aimee I feel the same way about starting pointe, my ankles were screaming way before my feet. And I thought they were pretty strong at the time.

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I sprained my ankle badly about 30 years ago, and it's always been a worry, then broke the other one very badly about 4 years ago. It's now partially artificial.


I'm doing pointe and am very strong on both - more on the artificial one than the normal one, but the metal one doesn't have the elasticity of the normal one. I am cautious, though.


I would highly recommend you ask your teacher if you have strong enough ankles for pointe work. A teacher I had just after I broke mine (and came back to ballet in a more beginner class) said it's about 2 years minimum from a bad break to being able to use it properly. He was quite right!

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how do you know if your ankles are strong enough for point work?


I don't think there's any absolute or abstract standard -- strong ankles are what are strong ankles for you. And your teacher is the best guide to this, until you have learnt enough to know what works for your body. If you've only just started serious study of ballet, then that could be a couple of years at least.


It's not just raw strength, but the ability to use whatever you've got, and the time taken for your muscles to develop the appropriate muscle memory and sense of your body in 3 dimensional space: proprioception.


As for pointe work -- well, that comes later, and ankle strength really isn't the prime issue. You really should be managing well at an intermediate level, with knowledge of how to execute pretty much any/all the steps of the repertoire, and an ability to put them together in enchainements with the appropriate pacing and rhythm, which includes being able to work port de bras and upper body with legs and feet. You need to be able to hold and work your turn out throughout class -- if you can't hold it on demi-pointe and flat, there's no way you should be trying pointe work.


I think it's important to learn to "walk" first, before you run, in ballet terms!

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