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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Sore tango feet?

Just back from the very successful Tango in the Spring event in Canberra, Australia - a lovely opportunity to immerse oneself in Golden Age tango.

But, all those hours of milongas can take their toll.  Sore feet was not an unusual topic of conversation.  Some might say that it's a good problem to have - implying that they should be happy, because they did lots of dancing.  Does one inevitably follow the other?

Well, I'll let you into a secret.  You can have your (milonga) cake and eat it, too!

Here are some tips:
  • Keep your body in shape
    If you can easily maintain a good posture in the embrace, keeping your axis aligned over the weight-bearing knee, then you are more likely to be using your foot efficiently. (You'll find it harder to pivot, if your weight is on the outside of your foot.)   Poor distribution of weight can also lead to injuries.
    You might try exercises for the feet and ankles, too.

  • Select well-fitting and well-cushioned shoes
    Our feet weren't designed to walk in high heels. So, we will be asking for more trouble wearing shoes which are also too tight, too loose, un-cushioned, etc.  (Note. Good padding for the balls of the feet becomes even more important, as we get older.) 
    The shoes may be pretty. They may be a bargain. But, trust me, you'll regret it unless they are really comfortable from the start!  Just ask yourself how many pairs of rejected tango shoes you have stashed away, or given away.  If you're like me, it will be too many to admit to!

  • Keep heels and balls of both feet in contact with the floor
    Why dance just on the balls of your feet (unless pivoting, of course)?  Use your heels and your metatarsals. 
    While extending into a back-step, keep the metatarsals (not only the toes) in contact with the floor.  Lifting and placing your foot, will mean that each step effectively impacts the floor. Ouch!
    These techniques also ground us and help with our balance.

  • Choose partners carefully
    You don't have to dance with anyone and everyone.  If you know that someone's dance style causes you discomfort, then you don't have to accept the invitation.  Use the cabeceo to avoid this, or politely refuse.

  • Take a break
    Perhaps you've just danced a lovely tanda, and feel like basking in the lingering pleasure. Maybe the person you hoped to dance with to this next tanda is already dancing. Or, the music being played doesn't inspire you to dance.
    No problem.  Sit and watch the dancers, enjoy the music, or have a chat. Your feet will appreciate the break.

  • Ice
    Keep a small plastic bottle of water in the freezer at home. If you do get sore feet, cover the frozen bottle with several layers of newspaper or a cloth, and roll your bare foot over it on the floor for 5 minutes or so.  The cold reduces inflammation.  The improvement is amazing and lasts!
Of course, for ongoing problems, you should get professional advice.

I hope this helps.  You may have additional tips to share.  Would love to hear from you.

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