Dancers use and abuse their feet everyday, and adding up all those plies, relevés and bourrées can take a toll. Give your hardworking feet the attention they need because they are the foundation for every vertical movement of the body. Here are a few ways to keep your feet functioning and flexible for all the demands of life, in and out of the studio.
To improve the flexibility in the feet, it is important to incorporate rolling into your daily routine. If the muscles are tight and housing trigger points they cannot actively or effectively stretch. Site specific massage to these areas can help release tension points and allows the muscle to soften, enhancing the benefits of stretching post self massage.
1. CALF TRIGGER POINT RELEASE // If one or both of your ankles seem tight or lacking in mobility, sometimes this can come from a tightness in the calf. Place leg out in front of you and begin rolling up and down the calf muscle, stopping at points of tension and holding for at least 30 seconds.
2. PERONEUS SELF MASSAGE // Another site to be aware of for dancers are the peroneus muscles, which can be found on the outer side of the lower leg about 2 inches down from the knee.The peroneus is connected to tendons and metatarsals that allow the foot to point and the sole of the foot to turn outward. Lie on your side or be seated, move back and forth, when you find a point of tension hold for 30 seconds.
3. ARCH SELF MASSAGE & RELEASE // The pinky toe. Unstable ankles can overload the “flexor digiti minimi brevis” or the muscle underneath the fifth metatarsal. Start sitting on a chair and massage up and down the from the ball of the foot- pinky toe side to middle of the arch. Be sure to find spots of tension and hold for 30 seconds.