Getty Images

Got Sore Heels? Try This Exercise

This story originally appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Pointe.

Until recently, stretching was thought to be one of the best ways to counter plantar fasciitis, or heel pain caused when connective tissue under the foot becomes irritated. Just mention the condition and ballet dancers are likely to groan, since it often develops as a result of tension placed on the plantar fascia when repetitively landing jumps and rolling down from relevés.


Now, new research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports singled out one specific exercise as possibly more effective than stretching. In the study, one group did a stretching regimen of pulling the toes toward the shins for 10 reps, three times per day. Only after one year of stretching did most participants find pain relief in their heels. However, the group who did the following exercise regularly reported less pain after only three months.

1. Stand on one foot on a stair or sturdy box, with the heel of the affected foot extending off the back edge and the toes resting on a rolled-up towel. Let the other leg dangle freely with a slight bend at the knee.
2. Take 3 seconds to relevé the standing foot.
3. Hold for 2 seconds at the height of the relevé.

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Robert Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks