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Author Topic: Skates and arch pain - fsf  (Read 4358 times)

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Offline JimStanmore

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Skates and arch pain - fsf
« on: September 02, 2010, 10:28:49 PM »
evie464
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Post Title: Skates and Arch Pain?
Posted: 06-18-2004, 07:33 PM

 Hey Everybody!

First I guess I should introduce myself since I just registered with the board!

I'm 17, from the USA, and just started skating 7 weeks ago. I'm originally a dancer, in the persuasions of ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, acrobatics, and tango, but I sprained my ankle and started ice skating as a method of getting my balance back.

Since then, I haven't stopped! At this point, I've learned my basic figures, a few spins and I'm starting on my axel and toe loop jumps.

Ok, enough yacking

I bought new skates a month ago, and I noticed that when I take them off after skating I have a certain amount of stiffness/discomfort/tension maybe bordering on pain in my arch area. It goes away when I walk around for a while, but when I wake up the next morning my feet are very stiff again. I have high arches from ballet, and can't afford to suffer any collapsing arches! Any thoughts on this, and do you think it would be a good idea to get arch supports?

Thanks!

Happy Skating!

~*EVIE*~ 

CanAmSk8ter
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Posted: 06-18-2004, 09:30 PM

 Seven weeks and you're already working on axels? Wow.

Anyway, what kind of skates do you have? Were they fitted professionally and everything? I also have very high arches, but skates that are really fitted properly shouldn't have room for a whole arch support unless you had been fitted specifically with that in mind. What I've done is taken the innersoles out of mine, cut out just the arch part from a Dr. Scholl's innersole, and taped it to the innersole from my skate, right where my arch is. 

skaternum
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Posted: 06-18-2004, 10:01 PM

 Um, it's very unusual that you're just learning toe loops but are working on axels. Especially after 7 weeks. Are you working with a coach on these? If not, you could be setting yourself up for improper technique problems down the road. 7 weeks is an extremely short period of time to be working on the skills you're talking about, so don't be surprised if we're a little skeptical.

Do your feet hurt at all while you're skating? There could be any number of things that could cause foot pain: boots too narrow, not enough arch support, etc. If you've only been skating 7 weeks, you probably don't have enough experience to tell if your boots were fit properly. You might want to get a second opinion/second fitting.

Skating is addictive, isn't it? What figures have you learned? It's rare that anyone learns figures anymore these days. 

evie464
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 03:10 PM

 Hey!

haha yeah I was very skeptical when I started learning all the different jumps and stuff too... however I'm so strong from doing ballet and I have excellent core support, so I'm finding everything very easy to pick up. A lot of people have commented that it looks like I've been skating for a lot longer. I wouldn't risk my dance career by doing anything prematurely, though I'm working on them with a coach who's very picky with my technique, and I practice about 3 hours a day... I cut short my explanation a little so I wouldn't write a book, but I'm working on axels, toe loops, and salchows by first doing a non-jumping exercise that imitates the setup, and trying the rotations off ice... I'm not just whipping them off on the ice! Soon, though, I think I'll be able to try singles...

I don't have any pain while I'm skating... my arches are just oddly stiff when I remove the boots. I have Rydell skates. I noticed that you can't fit a whole arch support in there, but I think I'll try what was suggested and cut the arch part out of a dr. Scholls one. I don't think its a serious problem, but I just wanted to make sure skaters don't get some sort of serious foot problem of which i have the early symptoms

skaternum, skating is very addictive! I used the wrong vocabulary term to describe what I was learning... I meant that I've learned the basic figure skating footwork like three turns, mohawks, and so on.

Happy Skating!

Thanks for your concern and responses.

~*EVIE*~ 

skaternum
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 04:19 PM

 Aha. Your explanation makes more sense now. Working jumps off-ice vs. working them on-ice are very different, so that's why we were amazed. With a strong dance background, it wouldn't be too odd for you to be working them off-ice, but it would be odd if you were doing them on-ice already. As for the terminology, that clears things up too. "Figures" means the old compulsory school figures. People spent years learning the first couple of levels of them, so when you said ... well, now that's clear too.

I came to skating with a dance background too -- mostly ballet. But I did it this way: 13 years of ballet (some modern, jazz, & character thrown in), 6 or 7 years of nothing, 3 years of ballet, 2 years of nothing, then skate school at age 30! My doctor told me skating would actually be easier on my bad knee than dance, and he was right, although I still had to have surgery eventually. There have been several discussions about the dance-to-skating transition here and on other skating boards and newsgroups. In general, the dance gives you a big head start in terms of muscle strength, body awareness, presentation, etc. , especially if you can start skating while you're younger, but there are some drawbacks to it as well. Some key parts of dance technique are deadly for skating. (Voice of experience. Haha.) Examples: pirouettes are nothing like spinning; you have to unlearn spotting; your weight on your blade has to be further back than in ballet; turnout can wreak havoc on jump landings; arabesques are NOT like spirals because of the weight being forward; and the centered, lowered hips in ballet can make some of the harder turns like rockers and choctaws a little tough. But the positives outweigh the negatives, in my opinion.

Okay, sorry for the digression. Back to the arch problem. I'll bet your Riedell's are simply too narrow for the ball or toe of your foot. Since you're a dancer, I'll guess that you have some bunions or a wide ball of the foot. Riedell's are notoriously narrowly shaped. You may need to try to identify where they're too tight, then get that area stretched or punched out. A good skate technician should be able to do that. Were you fit by a reputable fitter? 

evie464
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 04:42 PM

 Skaternum -

I'm so glad you wrote that paragraph about dance in relation to skating! I've noticed the same things! Skating definitely made me more aware of my knees Its made me plie a lot deeper off ice, and realize how little I actually use my knees! As for spotting, I unlearned it pretty easily once my coach pointed it out... part of the great thing about being a dancer is knowing how to consciously change your body position! Of course, it took a day or so of constantly reminding myself. I do know what you mean about turnout... I have to consistently make sure that I'm staying parallel... although its kind of odd because a lot of turnout is required for moves like the ina bauer and spread eagle (more outside than inside if I remember correctly). Also, though, I found that changing direction, as in 3 turns and movement during beginning jump progressions, is much easier because I'm used to pirouetting. I think its because I've learned not to move my upper body before my lower... it all has to move together. I agree with you, though, that the positives outweigh the negatives. Considering these differences, I think I'd really like to teach ballet for skaters one day! I have a couple of ideas on how to adapt exercises so that they're more effective for skating.

I find your skating and dancing background very interesting ! Are you an ice dancer, or a regular figure skater (I think freestyle is the correct term?). A lot of people have told me that I should try ice dancing because I'm a dancer, but I really like the freestyle so far. Is there a big difference?

I got my skates fitted at the pro-shop at the rink I go to, and I assume/hope that my fitter was reputable! The other skaters seemed to have good things to say about her. Since I was a beginner, the woman who fitted me said just to try the skates and if I needed them stretched or punched out in any areas that were consistently a problem then that could be arranged. I just wasn't sure what a problem would be composed of for skates

Nice chatting!

Happy skating!

~*EVIE*~ 

skaternum
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 05:54 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by evie464 
I find your skating and dancing background very interesting ! Are you an ice dancer, or a regular figure skater (I think freestyle is the correct term?). A lot of people have told me that I should try ice dancing because I'm a dancer, but I really like the freestyle so far. Is there a big difference?
 
 
There's a big difference between freestyle and ice dancing. I do freestyle and pairs. I absolutely hate ice dancing! I find that the lower level dances (at least the first 8 dances or so) are boring as all get out to me. Plus, I don't find ice dancing to be enough like dancing to keep my interest, and the music they play for the compulsory dances is usually lame, lame, lame. I acknowledge that ice dancing is harder than it looks and it's really good for your overall skating, but it just bores me to tears. It's all about edges, which is good for you, but not interesting enough to me to inspire me to get through the boring stuff to the fun part of it in the higher level dances. I like to mix in my jumping, spinning, and pairs. I respect ice dancers, but don't want any part of it for myself. Some of my adult skating friends (also with ballet backgrounds) really love it, so it all depends on your preferences. You should try it and see if you like it or not.

Ironically enough, my pairs partner is a former ice dancer. 

Cinderella
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 06:08 PM

 Evie, you stated that you have some ideas of how you would adapt ballet exercises for skaters. I'm curious as to what they are, because I'm an adult skater who just recently started an adult ballet class to help with my arm movements, flexibility and turnout. It would be great to know how you would change things to make them more appropriate for skating.

Good luck with your transition. Sounds like you are hooked already. 

evie464
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 09:02 PM

 Cinderella -

I'll try to share my thoughts! They're not quite fully formed yet, but this is what I'm thinking:

Musicality:

1. With younger skaters, teach how to count the beat, and that in dance music is counted in segments of 8. A lot of skaters, both younger and older, seem to have problems staying with the music.

2. Use a simple port de bras (movement of the arms) exercise to teach students how to be more graceful by using all their music for a movement. For example, if I had to use 4 counts to raise my hands from a low fifth position (arms shaped circularly low) to a high fifth position, I wouldn't use one count to get the final position and then sit there for 3 counts. You have to use all four counts of your music and get there at the very last second! Unless, of course, your teacher specifies otherwise.

Muscle Building and Coordination:

1. Arabesque/Spiral: To build muscles in the back, I would first have the skaters perform an arabesque position and hold it for 16 counts. Then, I would have them hinge forward at the hips (in ballet we call this a penchee) so that they are in a spiral like position, minus turnout and the open hips (I'm still not sure if open hips are taught by skating coaches or if its just something thats naturally done).

2. Simplification for posture: Although I think its important to do advanced progressions, I would do very simple exercises with skaters at the same time so that they can think about their posture. I notice a lot of skaters standing sway backed (with their biscuits sticking out) either when they are stroking, or performing spins, or getting ready to go into jumps. In short, this mis-alignment in the center of the body (more commonly called the core) makes movement much less efficient, especially when a skater is trying to propel themself into a jump with multiple rotations. If you want to know the specific mechanics of this, let me know, as I could talk about it forever! Working with simple moves but paying attention to posture helps to strengthen the center of the body for jumps, in addition to simply making one's line look better. If you are a beginner at ballet, its hard enough to remember how many tendues to do, let alone to keep your pelvis aligned, your abs lifted, and your ribs closed.

Really, I think this is the most important one. I can't even explain how much stronger your body becomes when you use it properly.

3. Lots more extensions (developpes - prolonged lifting of the legs) for the purpose of strengthening the hips, hamstrings, and quads. Also, I'd have the skaters perform more little jumps (petite allegro) WITHOUT rotations (my teacher has us do them with rotations at the rink, unlike my real ballet teacher) with emphasis on rolling through the foot. Since the boot of a skate is so inflexible, lots of skaters tend to develop only certain muscles of their feet and ankles. This lack of balance can sometimes lead to muscular and skeletal problems that require physical therapy. This also relates to demi plies (bending of the knees) because the stiffness in the boot causes a lot of skaters to have an inability or deficiency in bending their ankles. This affects many aspects of their movement, and some coaches actually send their students to sport therapists to get their range of motion back.

4. Pirouettes in Passe - ONLY HALF TURNS

I would only do half turns, mainly because skaters don't need to know pirouettes and half turns means you don't really have to spot.

The purpose of this is to teach skaters to move their arms and their legs together. If you let your upper body move separately from your lower body, you will not be able to execute the half turn well. From what I understand, when skaters do not maintain the relationship between their upper and lower body during jumps they tend not to complete their rotations, or they two foot the landing and barely save the jump.

Grace:

1. Visualizations - For arms, I like to use this visualization that really helps arms look better: Imagine that you have ribbons tied to each and every one of your fingers. Now, Imagine that someone is pulling on those ribbons (I normally will walk up to a student and pull lightly on their fingers.) You can almost see the energy shooting out of their fingertips when you use this visualization!

Conclusion:

Well, thats only a very small part of my plan so far, but I couldn't possibly write it all now (I have about 20 specifically altered exercises, but I decided just to start with more general categories)! It all makes sense in my mind, but I don't know if it does on paper! Mainly, my strategy is to focus on exercises that increase core coordination and strength. I think its important to teach skaters - verbally - how their bodies work most efficiently.

In the ballet for skaters classes I've taken, it seems like the skaters are just going through the motions of ballet instead of truly, cohesively understanding the mechanics of their bodies. This could just be my class, though... not sure

I hope that made sense!

Let me know if you have any questions.

~*EVIE*~

P.s. and more stretching! 

Lmarletto
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 10:14 PM

 A whole bunch of fascinating stuff deleted -

Quote:
Originally Posted by evie464 

Musicality:

Muscle Building and Coordination:

Grace:

P.s. and more stretching!
 
 
Evie,

Your thoughts are very interesting to read. My daughter (5 yo) says she likes skating because it's "just like dancing, except you can go faster and do more cool things". But I haven't had much luck finding skating instruction that appeals to the dancer in her. I had been thinking about finding a coach who had had serious dance training in hopes that someone like that would understand how to present the skills in a way that was meaningful to a wannabe dancer. Since I'm not a dancer and barely a skater, your suggestions give me some very helpful starting points for talking with a potential coach.

As for arch stiffness/pain, I second the suggestion to try having the skates punched out at the ball of your foot. My Riedells killed my arches for months and I noticed that at the point when they stopped hurting, the boots had noticably stretched at the ball, especially on the insides, near the big toe.

Lu 

arena_gal
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Posted: 06-19-2004, 11:32 PM

 evie464, about your feet, I'd put some padding in the arch and remember to relax your toes. My arches hurt when I'm doing something difficult and find I've got my feet clenched, as if that would help my feet stay on the ice. Also, even skaters who have skated for years get sore feet when they're on the ice three hours a day. 

evie464
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Posted: 06-20-2004, 08:22 AM

 Lu:

Glad I could help!

An observation about coaches:

A lot of the coaches that were trained in Russia, I've noticed, have significant ballet training, or at least the quality of movement that results from it... maybe you should look at a Russian coach?

Good luck!

~*EVIE*~ 

Cinderella
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Posted: 07-02-2004, 12:35 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by evie464 
Cinderella -

I'll try to share my thoughts! They're not quite fully formed yet, but this is what I'm thinking:
~*EVIE*~
 
 
 
Evie,

Sorry it took me so long to respond. Just wanted to tell you that I think your thoughts are right on target. Thanks for taking the time to share them.

Having just started an Adult Ballet class in the hopes of helping my skating, I am familiar with most of this and agree that a "traditional" class is not necessarily the best thing to improve skating. The modifications you are suggesting would be so helpful. I wish you lived nearby, because I would take your class in a minute. We don't seem to have any "ballet for skaters" lessons in our area, and the problem is that the ballet teachers get a bit frustrated (or even snooty) when they learn that ballet is not your main passion. Since they postponed the class for the summer, instead I am taking a Creative Moves class taught by Masters Ladies skater Jenny Needham-Wall. In two weeks I have learned more helpful things than in two months of ballet. Now if only Jenny could do the Vulcan mind-meld and then some kind of body-meld ... oh well, guess I'll just have to work really hard at all this.

Thanks again for sharing. 

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Posted: 07-02-2004, 06:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinderella 
Evie,

Sorry it took me so long to respond. Just wanted to tell you that I think your thoughts are right on target. Thanks for taking the time to share them.

Having just started an Adult Ballet class in the hopes of helping my skating, I am familiar with most of this and agree that a "traditional" class is not necessarily the best thing to improve skating. The modifications you are suggesting would be so helpful. I wish you lived nearby, because I would take your class in a minute. We don't seem to have any "ballet for skaters" lessons in our area, and the problem is that the ballet teachers get a bit frustrated (or even snooty) when they learn that ballet is not your main passion.
 
 
I also have years of ballet training--and I agree, Evie's ideas for adaptations are great. I would also add one thing re: port de bras--I would add exercises that use the Bournonville/Danish low second position arms (I think this is called bras bas in some ballet techniques). I think the Cecchetti method also uses many arms with this low postion in which the palms are more downturned. I find this arm position more useful for forward stroking than the traditional ballet second position with the palms not downturned.

I do use traditional second position arms for some things, just not for stroking.

Another thing I would concentrate a little on is range of motion to the front and to the side, as in developpe and grand battements. Skating rarely uses a very high range of motion for the leg to the front or the side, whereas for spirals, camel spins, lunges, a considerable amount of hip extension to the back is going on.

I would also focus a little on developing true turnout (not cheated turnout), especially in 2nd position and 4th position plies, as those positions are similar to (but not identical to) spread eagles and ina bauers. I often see skaters at the boards, jamming their skates into a forced spread eagle without using their hip rotators and abdominal and gluteal muscles. I cringe to think what they're doing to their ankles and especially their knees. I also see people (mostly tiny kids who are little Gumbys) doing besti squats with forced turnout and not enough rotation from their hips.

I would also (at the barre) concentrate on upper back cambre (some people call this port de bras to the back)--leaning back with the arm in 5th position en haut by first reaching up and back so that the majority of the bend is NOT in the lower lumbar spine. This is the up-and-out feeling that is needed in the layback spin (Nancy Kerrigan mentions this in her book) and also develops back strength for spirals. I would alter it by having the skater NOT rotate the head to the side during the cambre--the layback spin is usually done with the head looking up at the ceiling rather than to the side of the arm as in ballet, so it would be important to understand how to do this without crunching the cervical spine. 

Cinderella
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Posted: 07-03-2004, 12:31 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by mikawendy 
I would also focus a little on developing true turnout (not cheated turnout), especially in 2nd position and 4th position plies, as those positions are similar to (but not identical to) spread eagles and ina bauers. I often see skaters at the boards, jamming their skates into a forced spread eagle without using their hip rotators and abdominal and gluteal muscles. I cringe to think what they're doing to their ankles and especially their knees. I also see people (mostly tiny kids who are little Gumbys) doing besti squats with forced turnout and not enough rotation from their hips.
 
 
Mikawendy or Evie - could you elaborate on this? This is EXACTLY what I need to be able to do -- turn out from the hip. Since I am 47 years old, I am understandably cautious about doing things that might be hurting my knees instead. I want to learn bauers and spread eagles. What do you recommend to develop turnout from the hip?