Pronation has been linked with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and tendonitis. Pronation leads to stretched ligaments of the foot and ankle, leading to ankle instability. Chronic pronation of the foot can lead to chronic injuries. If you perform Irish dancing and have pronation, this might help you.
Pronation occurs at what is traditionally called ‘the hinge joint’. Its main function is to allow flexion and extension of the ankle. The subtalar joint below allows pronation and supination movements of the foot which aids balance and improves shock absorption. Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot at the ankle during an activity such as walking, running and dancing of course. Some pronation is natural but excessive pronation can lead to chronic injuries and can lead to strains and sprains when dancing.
I have attended many majors this year and have treated more than 30 ankle injuries during these events.. YES, THAT’S 30!!!! And a high percentage of these dancer’s experienced a similar injury in the past but never did anything to avoid it in the future. So if you have suffered an ankle injury in the past or if you know someone who has, keep reading because this might help you or them. Better still, TAG them in this post.
Cause of Injury
- Stretched or torn tendons from previous ankle injuries
- Weak or fatigued lower leg muscles or poor hip and knee stability
- Uneven training surfaces
- Unsuitable or worn footwear
Signs and symptoms
- Knee pain, Hip pain, heel pain
- Pain when landing after jumping
- Visible inward rolling of the foot
- Repeated ankle injuries
For chronic ankle injuries seek help from a professional or throw me a message. For acute injuries, some exercises may need to be avoided and others may need to be introduced to speed up recovery.
REST – ELEVATION – NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY – TREATMENT BY A SPORTS INJURY PROFESSIONAL
NO ICE unless you are in severe pain!! If you have spoken to me in the past about this or attended a workshop or private session, then you know why 😀
In very rare cases surgery is needed.
Rehabilitation and prevention
- Warm up properly – follow my Book & DVD ‘Upping Your Step’ for more information on this.
- Perform suitable stretching exercises and strengthening exercises frequently
- Complete a rehabilitation program before returning to Irish Dancing – easier said than done I know, but if an injury occurs often, it’s better to deal with it now and hopefully not have to worry about it the day of a big major!
For most, I find that they suffer from foot pronation because they have poor hip and knee stability. So I recommend that you focus on exercises that strengthen this area. Exercises would include: Lateral Band Walks & Side plank with a leg raise and external rotation of the foot. Foot pronation may come from poor hip and knee stability but it can also cause muscle imbalances at the lower leg, ankle and foot so performing strength exercises for these areas would be recommended. These include: single leg calf raises, winging, single leg rotations and doming.
How does foot pronation affect my dancing performance? (Turnout!)
Anytime you land, put weight on one foot or try to keep your back foot turned out when you apply weight to the foot, you will find it difficult to keep the foot turned out. Why? This is because you are putting weight on the inside of the foot and as a result, your knee and hip want to internally rotate. Your knees must be able to travel in the same direction as your toes when you bend them. So to be able to land with your foot turned out you must have good hip and knee stability to avoid them internally rotating. If you don’t, then your feet will always want to fall inwards and your hip and knee will always want to internally rotate too. I hope this helps you to understand.
Step Up Insoles
I have released a new product which you can see by visiting the SHOP that will help you to resolve this issue. Read more by clicking this link. http://www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.ie/product/stepupinsoles/
If you still have questions on this, contact me via email or on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you for reading.
Peter O’ Grady
The Author of Upping Your Step. A training book and DVD for Irish Dancing.
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