Health & Body

Ask Deb: "What Can I Do to Avoid Scrunching My Toes?"

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I recently watched your YouTube video on exercises for the intrinsic muscles of the feet. I have a question about the doming exercise. When doing the movement, I find it impossible to keep my toes long. The same is true for when I point my feet. I have a hard time lengthening my toes, and I feel a limited range of motion in the front of my ankle. Is there anything I can do to fix this?


Here are my suggestions:

1. Roll out the bottom of the foot and the front and back of the calf with a pinky ball. Rolling out the anterior tibialis—the muscle running along the lateral side of the shinbone—can help to ease any muscular tightness in front of the ankle. An X-ray would be needed to see if you have a bony impingement at the ankle that is decreasing your range of motion.

2. Stretch out the back of the calf, especially after class and at the end of the day.

3. Keep strengthening the intrinsic foot muscles through exercises such as the doming exercise you referred to.

4. Stretch out the intrinsic muscles. Start in the position below and then slowly bend the back knee until a stretch is felt underneath the ball of the back foot. Be aware of keeping your knee forward and your foot, knee and hip aligned. The stretch can be adjusted by either increasing the bend in the back knee or the distance between the two legs. Don't force the movement.

Photo courtesy of Vogel

Work with these ideas for a few months and see if your point improves.

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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