A beautiful long leg line and a taller, slimmer look. These are some of the advantages claimed by wearing high heels… But, beauty comes at a cost. Foot, knee and back pain and an increased chance of ankle injury are some of the risks. Good technique actually helps prevent problems, but any heel will cause strain after about 4 hours or less. If you wear heels when you dance, the important thing is to be aware of how they might impact your body, and what you can do about it. These 14 pain preventing exercises will help anyone who dances in heels.
Wearing heels puts increased strain on ankles and puts your calf muscles in a shortened position. You may also stiffen your Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscles to your heels at the back of your ankle. Foot cramp is another concern, especially if your arches are weak.
Some things to consider and do in between rounds, and as often as you can, with as many repetitions as you can:
- Flex and Extend your ankles when off the floor to stretch the ankle and calf muscles.
2. Extend your knees while sitting on a chair and rotate your feet. When doing this, think of painting circles with your toes.
3. Put small foam balls or golf balls on the floor and pick them up with your feet to strength the arches and reduce foot cramps.
4. While sitting on a chair with your knees bent, curl your toes in. Bring your feet as far back as you can under the chair with top of your toes flat on the floor. Gently press down to stretch your upper ankle ligaments and tendons. Increase your stretch by pressing down more on the top of your foot. It is better to do this exercise on the carpeted/soft surface.
5. Stretch your calves by standing flat on the ground with bare feet. Bend over and touch the ground with your hands, keeping your hands flat. Then bend one knee at a time by lifting the heel of only one foot at a time.
To offset some of the strain on the ankles and calves, also strengthen your butt and hamstrings. This will give you more support and help your ability to balance in heels.
6. For your butt, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lift your hips so you form a straight line from your knees to your chest. Then squeeze your butt and slowly lower and repeat.
7. For your hamstrings do squats. Dumbbells are a great addition and do not need to be overly heavy. You can also start with no weights at all.
Heels can also cause an overly arched back and put strain on your hips and lower back.
8. For hips, stand on one leg, and raise the knee of the other to hip height. Keep your back straight and grab your thigh for support, pulling it close to your body for extra stretch. Then moving only the ankle of the raised leg, slowly trace a circle with your toes
9. A great back exercise is to get on your hands and knees, shoulders directly over your wrists and hips directly over your knees. Inhale and slowly arch your back lifting the chest up and away from the belly and extending your tailbone toward the ceiling. Then contract your belly, and bring the chest down to rest on the thighs.
That beautiful point in a ballroom shoe can put your toes in an unnaturally cramped position.
10. Stretch your feet by separating your toes and wiggling them.
11. Get some help in keeping them separated longer with toes spacers, which you can get at the drug store, or use bits of cloth.
Those beautiful straps in a latin shoe can cause blisters if you do not wear fishnets.
12. The bottom inside of good shoes should have a soft material to absorb sweat. If not get an insert that sticks securely to the inside of the shoe, and is made of absorbent material especially for shoes
13. Put antiperspirant and light power on the top of your feet to reduce the sweat and friction that causes blisters from straps.
Invest in yourself!
14. This is not actually an exercise, but is important: Wear only good quality dance shoes… You Are WORTH IT!!!
Author: Miss P
Photography: Egorich.ca DanceSport
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