Q: How to prevent my foot from sickling?
The sickle is usually caused by an imbalance in strength between the
peroneals (specifically the fibularis longus) and the tibialis anterior
muscles. (very basically) One starts at the outside of the tibia,
crosses at the ankle and attaches to the base of the first metatarsal
(at the bottom of the foot) and the other starts at the top of the
fibula, goes behind the bump at the outside of the ankle, through a
groove in the heel and attaches at the exact same spot as the tibialis
anterior. The two muscles aid in plantar flexion, dorsi flexion,
inversion and eversion. The dancer needs to build the muscles equally
so one does not over power the other to cause the foot to sickle or pull
in from the base of the metatarsal.
A great exercise to help with everything from shin
splints to plantar fasciitis to a simple sickle is called The Alphabet.
At least twice per day, have your dancer draw the alphabet with her
foot. Pretend the toe is the pen and she is trying to etch the letters
into a picture. All of the movement is at the ankle and the dancer
should try to exaggerate the curves of the letters. If done properly,
the dancer should feel muscle fatigue on the outside edge of the lower
leg, just above the ankle by the time they finish the alphabet. The
exercise will help to balance the strength in both sets of muscles and
should (along with other work to focus on keeping heels forward) correct
a sickle - among other problems. It's a very good simple exercise that can correct a number of dancing related issues.
Click here for some awesome tips on how to point your foot.
Written by Shannon Thomas