Achilles injuries are some of the most common injuries in dancers. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of your ankle which connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. These muscles help point your foot, hold you in releve, and generate power to jump. Because this muscle group is frequently utilized in ballet as well as other forms of dance, it is at risk of injury.
Common causes of injury include poor mechanics during dancing, poor ankle mobility, fatigue or weakness of the calf, and overpronation.
Overpronation can be observed as a flattening of the arch and winging out of the foot. Many dancers use this strategy to have the look of an increased turnout when they are lacking hip mobility. These dancers will bend their knees, place the feet on the floor in a turned-out position, then straighten the knees. This causes a rotational torque on the hip, knee, and ankle, and can contribute to injuries in these joints. Over time, this puts your ankle stabilizer muscles in an unbalanced ratio, where one muscle group gets too tight, and the opposite muscle group becomes weak.
Additionally, this causes a “bowstringing” effect of the inner-most Achilles fibers, and causes you to incorrectly use the tendon, resulting in injury.
A smaller turnout, while not as visually pleasing, is safer for your joints, and ultimately for the long-term health of your muscles, joints, ligaments.
If you are having any Achilles pain, contact us at Potentia Therapeutics for a full evaluation of your pain, or to just improve your dancing, running, or walking form.