July 9, 2008

Dancing Smart Newsletter: 7/9/08

Quick announcement: I'll be in NYC for the Dance Teachers Summer Conference sponsored by Dance Teacher Magazine and MacFadden Performing Arts Media. I hope to see many of my loyal readers! The subject of my two classes will be, Conditioning the Body for Jumps and 10 Tips Towards Keeping Teachers in Top Shape. Hope to see you August 9-11!


Recently I've been doing a lot of tendus and the like daily to increase the strength and stop my toes "crunching" while pointing. Over the past few days the tendon/muscle going from the top of my toe over the arch has become incredibly sore and "crunches' when I flex and pointe. After some very brief research on the net, I found that this could be tendonitis. More research also points to a small bone fracture or something to do with the tissue. I was just wondering what you think this is and how to treat it?

My recommendation would be to use the pinkie ball to see if releasing tension from the anterior tibialis muscle will release the discomfort on the top of your arch. That muscle contracts when you flex your foot and needs to stretch and lengthen when you are pointing.

You'll want to gently kneel on the pinkie ball to massage the front, outside portion of your calf where the anterior Tibialis muscle is. After doing the front of the calf, take some time to massage the bottom of your foot by standing and rolling your foot over the ball. If you are practicing your tendus and lengthening the toes you are strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the foot – always a good idea! That, along with lengthening the front of the ankle is what creates a beautiful tendu.

If releasing the pull from the muscles around the ankle helps – super! If the top of your foot continues to feel sore, and you are hearing crunching or cracking noises – I would encourage you to go to the doctors and get some x-rays in order to rule out a stress fracture or other boney problem.

The doctor should also look carefully at your standing alignment to make sure your foot is not pronating, which so strongly affects the muscle balance around the foot.


I am suffering from Plantar fasciitis...I am doing everything (ice, taking time off, walk with heels, massage, exercises for the feet and legs, hamstring and calf lengthening and ease) and there is no change. What do you recommend?

I was diagnosed by a foot doctor.

Lori, you are following the traditional protocols for plantar fasciitis, and since it is not getting better I would look at other potential factors. Is one foot or both bothering you? Did it start all of a sudden, or come on more gradually? Were there any precipitating events?

It appears that you are going to need to put on your detective's cap to figure this one out. I would check for any imbalances between the two legs. Could there be a leg length driving this problem? Does one foot have a tendency to pronate more than the other? Do you have a difference in your turnout between the two legs? Are you able to walk more comfortably when your arch is taped up for pronation? Often, that will help ease the pull and strain to the plantar fascia, which will help it heal.

As far as immediately trying to release the strain – I would encourage you to find a practitioner who has been certified by Tom Meyers, who wrote Anatomy Trains, the best book on understanding the myofascial relationships in the body, in my humble opinion. Here is the link to his practitioner list. http://www.anatomytrains.com/kmi/practitioners

There are massage therapists who have studied other myofascial techniques that could also be useful. My focus would be on releasing the entire line of fascia that runs from the bottom of your foot all the way up the back of your leg, spine, neck, and finally ending on your head. It could be that other areas are feeding this posterior line of fascia and once they are released the weight and pull on the plantar fascia will be released.

Plantar fasciitis can be a very tenacious problem – I wish you the very best for a speedy recovery!

Warm regards,

"Education is the key to injury prevention"