1. Warm Up
Warm up, warm up, warm up! Did I mention that ballet dancers must warm up before they dance? The warm up and stretching prior to class or practice is probably the most important part of ballet dancing. The muscles of the body, legs, feet and the ankles have to be prepared to work, otherwise injuries will occur.
2. Develop Strong Ankles and Correct Skills
Practice how to perform ballet dance movements technically correctly and to build strength in the muscles. Dancers must have strong muscles and strength in the ankles as they work together to support the body from the ankle up. Landing firmly requires strong ankles to avoid injuries. Balancing on pointe requires strong muscles in the ankle, as do the quick repetitive flexing movements that are basics in the ballet. Building strong ankles and doing technically correct ballet helps prevent ankle injuries.
3. Properly Fitted Shoes Need to Dance on Proper Dance Floors
Wearing correctly sized ballet slippers or pointe shoes helps prevent many ankle injuries. Properly fitted pointe shoes are particularly important, because of pressure that’s applied on the ankle while on pointe. Loose fitting pointe shoes will cause a dancer to fall out of a movement, thus turning or spraining their ankle. The feet and ankles sweat while dancing. Ballerinas have several pairs of pointe shoes in order to keep wearing dry, firm pointe shoes. This helps prevent the shank from breaking, causing an ankle injury. The dance surface is equally important. The wooden ballet dance floors have padding underneath to cushion the landing impact, helping to prevent painful ankle injuries.
4. Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Healthy Ankles
Ballerinas tend to be extremely thin. That makes it very important for these dancers to eat healthy, get the right nutrients in their food, stay well hydrated, adapt healthy lifestyles and get lots of rest to maintain healthy bones, joints and muscles. The ankle area is so important, because it gets pounded while practicing and performing. Keeping the dancer’s body healthy will promote good bone and joint health, keeping the delicate ankles ready to dance for years to come.
5. Strained Ankles
Sprains, ligament tears and muscle strains are common ankle injuries in ballet. Even when you’ve done everything to protect them, sometimes an ankle injury still happens. When it does, take care of the ankle so it doesn’t become a major medical problem or end your dance career. Give the ankle time to heal, rest it, use ice for swelling and see a doctor for acute pain. When it’s time to dance again, wrap the ankle for support and keep it wrapped until it’s fully healed and strong.