The Structure of the Foot

     For dancers, the foot plays a large role in the ability to perform movements. It needs to be strong and flexible in order to endure much pressure and still look aesthetically pleasing at the end of lines and extensions. The foot contains 26 bones, 31 joints, and 20 intrinsic muscles. Each part of the foot plays a key role in creating a balance of mobility and stability. Ankle injuries such as sprains or injuries to the Achilles tendon occur frequently in dancers. A sprain is caused by rolling the ankle outward and rupturing the fibers of the external lateral ligament. The deltoid (internal) ligament is hardly ever injured because it is much stronger. Although also one of the toughest tendons in the body, the Achilles tendon is also prone to injury. This tendon is connected from the calf muscle to underneath the heel. The calf muscle is constantly working in dance, so when it is tight, it pulls on the Achilles tendon causing pain. Many other parts of the foot are connected higher up in the leg, so proper stretching and loosening of the muscles in the leg will reduce the risk of injury in your ankle. 

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