Ballet and Sports Jumping Injuries Can Be Prevented By Education and Your Ability To Concentrate

The ankle joint is a hinge joint, and is actually three joints. Your two ‘shin bones’, the tibia and fibula join to the the talus, the foot bone, and also to the heel bone.

This allows for flexing and stretching your foot, for keeping the foot flat on the floor while the leg angles, and also for ankle rotations.

In ballet, and many sports, the strength of the intrinsic foot muscles – the muscles exclusively in your feet, is the buffer against strains in the calf muscles. The calf and leg muscles have to work harder to control the ankle if the foot muscles are underdeveloped. However, the calf and leg muscles cannot control the ankle and foot movements as well as strong foot muscles can.

You could say that is an out-sourced job. Control is best, locally, in the feet. Athletes have the challenge of uneven ground to deal with as well.

To dancers working in pointe shoes, the sole of the shoe presents uneven ground. Some professional dancers file down the edges of the leather sole so that it is more flush to the floor. But unlike a new pointe student, they have the strength in their intrinsic foot muscles to make up for the loss of the sole support. In other words, I do not recommend this for novice pointe work students – it is better to work on achieving new strength and balance in standing in pointe shoes (on flat).

Occasionally, also, the talus bone is damaged from a jumping injury. The ankle may be sprained, and the talus bone can suffer a compression fracture, easily, on the corner areas. This can go undetected.

Dancers have turnout to control stresses on knee and ankle joints. They also have the foot muscles to buffer landings. Athletes have training routines also. But all of us must rely on our ability to concentrate, and build strength for muscle control to avoid jumping injuries.

Dianne M. Buxton trained at The National Ballet School of Canada, The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and Toronto Dance Theater. Click here for free articles on how to get exactly the right fit in ballet shoes and pointe shoes, The Perfect Pointe Book, The Ballet Bible, details about ballet technique, dance books, and full body workouts.

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