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Ballet Talk for Dancers
BlleFille

Do you get sore calves after a break?

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BlleFille

I was on vacation for three weeks and didn't do any ballet. I walked a lot and wasn't still for long but no dance.....

I went back to class on Saturday and did my usual 1.5 hour class followed by 1 hour of pointe and now I can barely walk as my calves hurt so badly. I am not going to class tonight but have been hiking a very little over the last few days and am trying to stretch them out gently. Today was the worst yet! I can barely walk up or down stairs atall and am in a lot of pain. Does this happen to many of you if you take a break and does anyone know why it happens to some folks more than others? I can work my abs forever and they rarely get sore even after a break but my calves.....my lord, they get tender!!!!! they never hurt when I am taking classes numerous times per week but only after an extended break from dance. A friend of mine was also off for over three weeks and her calves feel fine! Am I doing something wrong or could it be my body type?

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BlleFille

Three days later and I can still barely walk!!! Besides warm epsom salt baths, gentle walking and stretching, what on earth can I do? I need to get back to my full ballet schedule soon!!! Why is this so painful please?

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Chihiro

This happened to me after my first class. It's never been nearly as bad since, but I do constantly have knots in my calves and they do get sore easily after a break. For me it's actually best to just go to class and use them! I always plan to take it easy and stay flat if I need to, but after a good warmup I find I rarely need to. Try taking a long walk and see if it helps, you might be surprised!

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Agnes1022

I hope that one of the moderators chime in, to correct me, just in case. I think that sore calves happen because your demi-pointe is not high enough. And if you're on pointe, you're not pulled up high enough and/or your knees are not "locked straight" like a steel bar. Your entire body needs to be so pulled up, as if a hook-and-rope were affixed to the top of your head, and pulling you vertically up from the floor.

 

Your weight should be on the ball of your feet and toes. If your weight falls further back towards your heels, you'd find that your demi-pointe is not high at all. And when this happens, the calves take a hit. That is, they have to bear the weight of everything that is above them. Over time, you wouldn't be sore, but your calves would look like a football player's; not the visual image a dancer is going for.

 

Plenty of walking and hiking have the same effect on calves. First, the soreness, then the muscles become stronger with repeated walking/hiking and the soreness goes away but the muscles bulk up.

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BlleFille

Thanks Agnes, but I am not sure that that is the problem as I normally NEVER have this issue...only after taking three weeks off dance and then returning to take a ninety minue class and a pointe class...it feels more like I did too much at once maybe..besides my demi pointe is quite high:)

At least I hope this isn't the case...as I definitely don't want footballer's calves!!!! OMG!

Thanks also Chihiro, I am about to take my dogs out for a long walk right now! :)

I jsut want to pain to go away...another epsom salt bath for me!

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olgahk

perhaps lack of magnesium? try eating a banana a day. it helped me with my sore calves.

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luceroblanco

Have you tried icy hot or the generic kind? I find that helpful for soreness.

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Redbookish
Three days later and I can still barely walk!!! Besides warm epsom salt baths, gentle walking and stretching, what on earth can I do?

 

If you're pretty sure that the pain is just from use after non-use of muscles, and not specific injury (doesn't sound like it's injury) then just get back to class. The soreness goes away with use. I suppose if there is "good" pain (a very big IF) then this kind of muscle soreness is that "good" pain.

 

I suppose that -- speaking for myself only -- I don't consider it pain, just soreness and stiffness from using muscles in a way that I haven't for a while ...

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Balletlove

I would say that if it doesnt feel like an injury, just stiff and sore; put some deep heat or a similar product on (vicks is also an option) rub firmly into the muscle and go to class... maybe try to keep the muscle warm at the start of the class by using leg warmers.

That build up of lactic acid in the muscles when you suddenly give them a serious work out after a long time off can be quite sore and quite difficult to get moving; another alternative would be to go for a sports massage but just a warning, they are going to work on every little sore spot in those calf muscles which can be sore...

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Reece

I find that ballet uses muscles and ligaments that normal walking or hiking doesn't use (or uses them in different ways). I'm always sore after starting back after taking a break from class, mostly in the calves and ankles.

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BlleFille

Thanks all! I will brave class tonight and do like suggested; use Vicks or icy hot or equivalent, legwarmers and hopefully can get back into things....not sure I should also do the pointe class after my regular class though? Any thoughts? Or should I just take regular class tonight and friday and get back to pointe on Saturday?

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olddude

For what it's worth (not much!) I'm in a similar situation and going back slowly, with no pain issues so far.

 

I was doing 6 90-minute technique classes plus a modern, a private, and a pointe class in flats every week. Then for a couple (unrelated) reasons I stopped entirely for seven weeks - didn't even walk more than a quarter mile at a time. Started back a week ago, with three classes - just the barre, 45 minutes, and at least one day of rest before the next class. I've had zero muscle issues so far. Planning to add adagio for another week before I try any jumping at all; it will be a good while before I try to take the pointe class again.

 

It does feel good to be "home" again! I'm exhausted after the barre at this point, no way I could take two classes back to back like I used to. But my releve balances are at least as good as they were before.

 

I think my moniker explains my caution pretty well ... :^)

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MelissaGA

I opened this thread because I am experiencing the same thing. I took all of July and most of August off from ballet, returning to class this week for the first time since then. I have been at the gym 5-6 days a week consistently. My stamina is definitely improved, but boy oh boy were my calf muscles sore after class. I was planning to only do barre the first day, but I was feeling good and continued and did almost the entire class.

 

I've been working on gently stretching and kneading the knots out, but after reading this, will head back today for another class. I will most definitely listen to my body because, well, it's the only one I have! LOL

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luceroblanco

Well, I was out for almost the entire summer (3 months) with no ballet. I did have some problems with my calfs cramping when I STOPPED taking classes--they started to cramp after about 1 week of no classes. I went back on Saturday after not having taken a class in 6 weeks (I had taken 1 class in August and that was it since the last week in June). I purposely did not do many releves. I did do the balances on both feet at the end of exercises, but did not do any exercises on releve. But I had no adverse affects and practically no soreness the next day, or two days--today. I think for me my legs were so bulked up and contracted from 2 years of classes with virtually no break that it did me good to take the time off. I have been swimming and doing cardio at the gym but nothing that strenuous. I was surprised that I was not that sore and also that the class was pretty easy for me. I think I had been doing some wrong things unconsciously with my body and that was causing tightness in my calfs and legs. Having the time off "erased" some of those negative habits I believe.

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Kini

As crazy as it sounds I've found that adding a slice of ginger root regularly to my water bottle has pretty much eliminated muscle aches for me. Not saying it's perfect but I've noticed a big difference since I've started early this summer. No lower back pain from yard work either for that matter. :)

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