How To Prevent Pointe-Related INJURIES
It's easy to misuse muscle groups or to develop bad habits over time. These things can alter your pointe work from good, to bad, to painful.
To avoid foot strain and injury -- apply these
4 SIMPLE TIPS as you train en pointe:
1. USE KEY PARTS OF YOUR BODY - Use everything in your foot, lower leg, and body the way it was designed to be used. This will translate into strong, less injury-prone pointe work.
This may seem obvious, but dancers are not always trained to utilize other parts such as their inner thighs, feet, and lower legs. If you do not draw on these other key areas your body will try to compensate in other, more vulnerable ways. This is where injuries come in.
A lot dancers have weaknesses in their feet and end up using other structures or muscles that were never meant to be used.
2. USE INTRINSIC FOOT MUSCLES V. EXTRINSIC ONES - If your intrinsic foot muscles are weak, your feet are more susceptible to injury and stress. This is another reason to focus on strengthening exercises. For more information on identifying the difference between these two groups and how to strengthen intrinsic muscles click here.
3. DON'T CLAW YOUR TOES - Clawing also known as "curling" can lead to blisters or corns. If you curl your toes, you will likely not use the correct muscles in your foot. This results in a weakly positioned foot on pointe. You can correct this habit by simply correcting your tendu. Practice a proper tendu exercise that breaks down the tendu movement for you, and corrects any place you were in error. You may need to do this slowly and intentionally, many times over again to get the correction into your body. Try wearing socks at the barre so you can see the articulation of your foot through tendu. Click here for a demonstration.
4. DON'T GRIP TENDONS - Gripping your tendons happens at the front of your ankles. This can lead to some damage over time, mainly tendinitis. I formed a habit of doing this and it resulted in inflamed achilles tendons. Not fun. Ask your instructor to examine you closely for this. If you have this habit, really try to break it. Habits can develop even after years of training and doing things properly. For some photos on what gripping looks like, click here.
Let us know if you have any thoughts on this topic! We'd love to hear.