It’s hot in the studio and now it’s hot outside! All of Southern California is in sandals for the summer, but for us dancers, this may actually be a short cut we wind up paying for! What you may not know is that any foot wear that doesn’t secure to your feet with laces or adjustable straps, need to be held on your feet with extra muscle tension in your toes, arches, shins, and calves.
While your muscles are working to keep those slip-ons from slipping off, they are not able to perform their more natural and valuable duties of shock absorbency and proper foot articulation. The most efficient pattern when we walk is to move through the foot in a three-phase process of heel-strike, stance, and toe-off. Not only do the over-working muscles resist the flexibility needed to perform this function, but non-supporting shoes like flip-flops promote a walking gait that tends to drag the feet and create an uneven and shortened stride. This can create strain that can be felt not just in the lower legs, but also in the knees, hips, and back.
As dancers, we put a lot of strain on our legs and feet especially when intensively training or working on hard surfaces. Many of us have or have had shin splints, stress fractures, and sprained ankles. So we are more likely to create inflammation and set ourselves up for injury when we go for foot wear that doesn’t support our already over-worked bodies. Rather than go for the breeze on your toes, choose shoes that have a flexible sole and adjustable straps or laces so they move with your foot. You’ll be helping your body recuperate rather than wrestle on your way to cool places.
Have an injury or area of concern that I could help with? Feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for bodywork requests or self-care recommendations.