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Home > Technique

Ward off Tendonitis

It is not rare to hear that a dancer has developed tendonitis. Many dancers will complain of pain behind their heel and ankle. This is where the Achilles Tendon is located.

Each movement in dance, requires the use of many muscles and tendons in the foot and ankle – this area is taxed especially with pointe work. The tendons tend to strain and can become inflamed if not properly taken care of. This inflammation is called tendonitis.

A number of things can cause tendonitis. If a dancer is dancing several times a week at 3 hour stretches each time, they are prone to tendonitis.

A dancer may also get a flare up if they do not properly warm up before rehearsal or class. A proper warm up includes stretching and light movement until the body is ready to endure the rigors of class.


Dancers with poor technique develop this sort of injury the quickest. And improper turn-out and “rolling in” will most likely lead to improper jump landings and take offs.

If you are landing wrong, your entire body will not be aligned nor supported, and the entire impact will rest on your tendons and feet.

Turn out should be from the hips, and should align all the way down through the knees to the toes. The feet should not be rolled inward. A dancer with inverted knees or “knocked knees” is prone to this and must be the most careful.

    ballet dancer pointe shoes

The tendons in the foot that are most prone to tendonitis is not only the Achilles tendon, but the flexor hallucis longus tendon as well.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the lower leg, it attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can become inflamed when movements are repeated frequently such as jump landings and take offs. Also, pointing the foot constantly and releve contributes to this inflammation.

To determine if you have tendonitis you have to evaluate your foot. If you notice swelling or tenderness and pain, then changes are that tendonitis is developing or is already present.

    tendonitis achilles tendon

You may also feel a clicking sound or may feel your foot getting frozen in certain positions as if our tendon has been caught out of place. Tendonitis can become so severe that is has the ability to end a dancer’s career.

Treatment for tendonitis includes large amounts of rest, proper warm up and avoiding pointe work especially. A dancer may also take anti-inflammatory medication such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen.

A heating pad and lots of warm up coverings also ease an inflamed tendon. Use your leg warmers and a heat pad before warm up – and take it easy on jumps during this time. The best thing to do by far though, is to take some time off and rest. You want to ward off tendonitis, not keep it at bay!

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