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Pointing the foot into a Theraband is often given to dancers worldwide as an exercise to ‘strengthen their feet’. While it can be done well if the dancer has exquisite awareness and control, many of the dancers we see doing this exercise are doing it in a way that is more detrimental that it is beneficial.
As an example of this, the photo in the header image was taken in our clinic and is of one dancer demonstrating the exercise as she had been taught by her teacher. She had come into our clinic as she was having chronic issues in the back of the ankle. Since she had been having pain, she had been performing the exercise even more to try to make her feet stronger, which was actually causing the issue to get even worse.
So why is doing this exercise (in this way) so bad?
The biggest problem with pointing into a theraband is overuse of the long toe flexors if the toes are scrunched. Overuse of these muscles leads to a lot of issues around the back of the ankle. Simply put, the muscles that curl the toes under (Flexor Hallucis Longis and Flexor Digitorum Longus) do not actually have their muscle belly in the foot. Pointing the foot in this way can cause thickening of the tendons that pass around the back of the ankle, and is the root cause of many of the foot injuries that we see in clinic at Perfect Form Physio.
The following video explains why we should avoid pointing into a Theraband, and some safer alternatives.