Forum: Advice / Strengthening

Muscles of the foot (karma: 3)
By hummingbird Comments: 10441, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Mon May 12, 2014 03:55 PM

This is to go with the discussion about foot stretchers and to show the muscles of the feet. I'll add more later.

2 Replies to Muscles of the foot

re: Muscles of the foot (karma: 2)
By hummingbird Comments: 10441, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Mon May 12, 2014 03:59 PM

And this one of the top of the foot is quite good too
re: Muscles of the foot (karma: 1)
By hummingbird Comments: 10441, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Fri May 16, 2014 12:13 PM
Now I have a bit more time lets look at some of those muscles and what they really do, the movement we're looking at as dancers is called Plantar Flexion, this means the angle on the front of the ankle increases in size. The ideal angle is 90 degrees, many people have a slight plantar flexion just when they stand if they have hyper extended knees.

This is a very good article I found on the muscles that work when we pointe our feet, there's a lot of muscles involved and they're not all in your foot.

Kinesiology of the Ankle:

By Brent Brookbush MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Ankle Plantar Flexion

Prime Mover: Soleus, gastrocnemius
Synergists: Fibularis longus, fibularis brevis, posterior tibialis, flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, plantaris
Antagonists: Tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus, peroneus tertius
Neutralizers: The posterior tibialis and medial gastrocnemius neutralize the eversion force created by the soleus, lateral gastrocnemius and the fibularis muscles.
Stabilizers: Fibularis longus, fibularis brevis, fibularis tertius, posterior tibialis, anterior, flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus
Fixators: Medial and lateral stabilizers of knee, quadriceps, musculature of the foot.

Lets have a look at what some of those words actually mean.

Prime Mover, these are the muscles that have to initiate the movement, if they don't then the movement won't happen no matter how hard you try. if you look at picture one you'll see that neither of these muscles are located in the foot, so how is a foot stretcher going to help them..

Synergists are next, these are assistant muscles, they can only work once the prime movers have done their thing, again you'll see that most of them are located in the leg, not actually in your foot. these are pictures 2,3,4 and 5

Antagonists, those are muscles that work in opposition to the concentrically contracting muscles, we need these muscles to help stabilize the movement we're making, if they didn't work with the prime movers and the synergists in this case our foot would just ball up, that really wouldn't work for pointe! Picture number 6 shows all of these and yet again most of them are located in the leg

Stabilizers and fixators do just what they say, they keep the ankle pointed and make sure it's stable.

Muscles move our skeletons, our range of movement is determined by that boney structure and whilst we can sometimes improve on what mother nature gave us by sheer hard work and determination we do have to take into account what we were given to work with. If you want to improve the articulation of your foot and ankle then I suggest metatarsal doming exercises to improve the strength of your metatarsals, these are the main prime movers of what goes on under your foot when you pointe, rises to get the gastroc and soleus working properly. Just like all stretching, sitting with your foot in one position for hours on end will not help! You need to activate and strengthen ALL of the muscles that contribute to a pointed foot and ankle and this can't be done with a foot stretcher.