Training Without Spraining

As dancers we depend on strong feet and ankles that won’t give out when we need them most. Many of us are too familiar with the feeling of landing a jump or coming out of a turn just slightly wrong and spraining an ankle. But a few easy preventative measures can help you avoid these dreaded mishaps, and they’ll probably be the most worthwhile exercises you do all day. Sprains are usually the result of tight calves and a weak tibialis anterior, the muscle next to the front of the shin. A few basic ankle rolls—just circling your foot 20–40 times in each direction, trying to hit every point on the circle—can bring your tibialis into balance and increase the stability of the joint. Rolling your calves over a foam roller can also help by relieving tension. Seems too basic to be true, but these steps before class will make a huge difference right away, so you can trust your ankles to carry you through the toughest of days.

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Ashley Daigle. Photo by Sydney Barrett, Courtesy Daigle

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