Forum: Irish / Irish - Technique & Training

higher on toes and sickling feet
By Sorcha1
On Wed Dec 12, 2012 01:40 AM

I need to get higher on my toes. I'm not sure if I just don't have the actual strength, or if my feet contribute to it. My toes go diagonally down; the big toe is pretty much the only thing touching the ground when I really really try to get up higher. My second toe is a little shorter than my big toe, so that doesn't provide much support. So, do I just need to strengthen my feet? I know I'm not the only person in the world who's toes are like this, so I'm not sure.. what exercises can I do?

Also, I sickle my feet, especially my right foot, when I point. I never really realized that I did this until very recently. How can I re-train my feet to point correctly?
thanks!

5 Replies to higher on toes and sickling feet

re: higher on toes and sickling feet
By Rockstar679
On Wed Dec 12, 2012 02:10 AM
Sounds like you need more strength. All you need is go on the edge of a step and go up and down about 10 times. You can work up to more and do it one foot at a time as you get stronger. Do this everyday and you will see the difference in a few weeks. Good luck!
re: higher on toes and sickling feet
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Dec 12, 2012 03:14 AM
The best way to get higher on your toes is to strengthen your arches and calf muscles. The best exercise for this is relevaes. You stand flat footed and raise yourself gently as high as you can/to the balls of your feet and lower yourself back down slowly. An exercise we do is to turn reel music on and lift up for four beats and down for four beats for 8 bars, then up for two, down for two for 8 bars, up and down for one for 8 bars, then push up and bounce up and down without letting your heels touch the ground for 8 bars.

As for sickling, one thing I've found to be helpful is when you are sitting around, point your feet and really think about using the shin muscle on the pinky toe side of your leg to pull your foot down. Sicking is caused by the muscles on the interior of the ankle being stronger than the exterior.
re: higher on toes and sickling feet (karma: 1)
By GannTheGloriousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Dec 12, 2012 05:31 AM
Since you said you're sicking when you point your feet, I take it this just means that you sickle when there's no weight on your foot? In that case, just think of pushing outward with the muscles along the inner foot and ankle. Whole leg, really, but it;s easier to forget to "fire up" the foot and ankle muscles when there's no weight on them. If you're also sickling when you're up, think of the same things, but you may need more strengthening to hold it.

As for getting up on your toes, I don't think the shape of your feet will be a big obstacle. I don't have much experience with Irish yet, but I have a lot experience doing ballet (including pointe) with tapered feet like yours. What it does mean is that you will need a stronger big toe and first metatarsal. Dancers with more "square" toes have more points of contact with the ground to hold them up, but not everyone has that luxury!

The exercises others have posted will help you a whole lot, but I think you could also benefit from "toe swapping" and "doming," which you should be able to find videos of on youtube. Toe-swapping is exactly what is sounds like, you stand and lift/lower toes--much harder than it sounds and makes the toes and metatarsals strong. "Doming" is standing flat and lifting through the arch, again working all the little intrinsic foot muscles
re: higher on toes and sickling feet
By Sorcha1
On Fri Dec 14, 2012 02:25 AM
very helpful, thanks so much everyone!
re: higher on toes and sickling feet
By irish_zebra
On Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:37 PM
It does sound like you need more strength in your ankles, and in your arches. I would take a yoga band and put it on the tips of your toes and point your toes and then flex them and then point them again and just do that for a while everyday and then you will get strength in your arches. As far as the sickling, what always seemed to help me with my turn out is getting used to turning out with my hips, instead if just my knee or ankle. I hope this helps! let me know if you have any more questions!

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