Hello All, Ella here. Here's a little blog to finish up November and start off the Christmas season!
Feet. They are an integral piece of a dancer’s body. They are our base of balance but may be required to be as expressive as our hands. To do this we need to be able to recruit all of the muscles in the foot, not just prime movers. We refer to these as the intrinsic foot muscles.
I have been introduced to a product that I believe should be in every dancer’s bag. They are called Flex-Tastic™ and can be found either online or at your local drugstore. They look like toe spacers you might use to give yourself a pedicure, but the important difference is that the Flex-Tastic™ also encompasses the big toe. This helps us form a muscle schema to remind our brain that we have 5 separate toes. Because our feet, or more specifically our toes, are constantly held together as one unit when we wear sock and shoes (tights and point shoes) the brain can “forget” that there are actually individual pieces that make up the foot. The Flex-Tastic™ helps work all of the intrinsic foot muscles to provide a much stronger and more stable base.
These exercises were created by Debra Treloar, co-founder of Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic in Vancouver. They can be used in the rehab setting, recovering from a foot or ankle injury, but for dancers whose feet are the tools of their trade, it is important to keep these muscles strong and awake at all times.
Flex-Tastic™ foot and Ankle Exercises:
Sit tall in a chair with weight equal on both sits bones. Keep your core engaged, make sure you’re not slouching. The Flex-Tastic™ should be worn with the bump on top. Keep sitting tall for all of the exercise. These exercises should be done once per day!
- Lift let or right foot onto the tennis ball; do not shift weight, use your core. Roll ball along inside arch of the foot (base of the big toe to the base of the heel). Make sure to keep the toes relaxed and foot parallel to the ground. Roll 20-30 times each foot.
- Roll the ball along the outside arch of the foot, 20-30 times.
- Fix your heel to the ground with the tennis ball under the ball of the foot (MTP joints). Flex toes down, extend toes up and spread toes out. (Make sure all toes get involved, even the pinky toe!). Do each position 20-30 times
- Heel fixed to the ground, ball under MTP joints. Roll ball of foot side to side over the tennis ball while keeping toes level. Do NOT move the knee. Really connect the heel of the foot to the ground and the foot to the tennis ball.