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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Sore foot suggestions?


aspirant

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I've recently started taking class after a large hiatus (5 years) and have noticed that my right foot doesn't really cooperate in releve. It used to be the "bad" foot, but now I think that it may be anatomically different from my left (?) or that I simply didn't identify this problem in my youth.

 

There is no pain with anything other than releve (I can press/roll over and jump with no problem). But when I go up I notice that I put more weight on the left because the right foot is having trouble. The area is located directly below the 2 and 3rd toes, in the ball of the foot/metatarsal region. It doesn't appear to be inflamed, and isn't terribly tender to the touch but the idea of passe-releve almost makes me cringe.

 

Any armchair doctors out there or someone with a similar suggestion?

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If your right foot was the "bad" one five years ago, it will be worse now. You have tightened up and lost strength beside. There may be some localized inflammation of the plantar fascia down by the toes. All that's going to cure it is a return to the routine of ballet, and pointing the foot fully through tendus, dégagés, frappés and so forth. It will take rather awhile to work out. Is the pain persistent after class?

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With respect to Major Mel, what you're describing SOUNDS like something that was happening to me when I was wearing tight shoes. If the pain is right at the ball of hte foot, under hte bone, when you releve, which is what I had, the doctor told me it was a Miller's neuroma and asked if I was wearing tight shoes, and I said "yes, mm... how did you know?"

 

He gave me that "I went to school for 9 years" look.

 

For class I'd been wearing some beautiful white leather men's Gambas somebody had given me that ALMOST fit, and made my foot look GREAT when I pointed, but when I was standing flat, my foot couldn't really spread out, they were too tight. And that was what was causing my trouble, the bones weren't leaving enough room for a nerve that runs right under there....

 

The doctor also told me to STRETCH THE SOLEUS (the inner calf muscle); tight soleus leads to Miller's neuroma....... that's the "runner's stretch" with hte back knee bent.

 

It cleared up VERY quickly as soon as I got shoes loose enough...

 

if it's NOT shoes, and if it keeps up, even after working your foot carefully as Mel says through tendus, frappes, etc., I'd go see the doctor --

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I was thoroughly prepared for the 'getting back into it' aches and pains, but this has been a persistent problem for going on two months now. Obviously it hasn't incapacitated me, but I am starting to wonder now about seeing someone. I dread, however, the reccomendation to 'take time off' (preaching to the choir I'm sure!)

 

My right foot is slightly wider than my left, but I always use this foot to size shoes and am not traipsing around in heels during the day either. The pain is barely noticeable at any other time than during releve--it feels a bit like I am standing on a marble embedded in the ball of my foot.

 

Thanks for your advice.

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globetrotter, when yuo're in an area with a dance-medicine shop, -- SF has excelletn dancemed at St Francis Hospital, I'm sure NYC does -- find a doc who knows how to talk to dancers-- s/he won't tell you to take time off, unless that IS the only thing to do.... but there ARE injuries for which rest is essential.

 

But the dance med folks do know who they're talking to.....

 

Meantime, speaking as a massage therapist, I'd for sure if was ME be sure to STRETCH MY SOLEUS (the inner calf muscle), several times a day -- if it will stretch (and if it won't lengthen, then you DO need rest) and maybe get a foot massage.....

 

(PS there are 2 calf muscles -- the "runner's stretch," stretches both but especially the gastrocnemius, to stretch the soleus most efficiently, do a lunge in parallel, but BEND the back knee).

 

Good luck

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I can identify with odd pains in the foot after some time off -- just when I thought I was going to have to live with such a thing, it would abate and I'd be back to normal. As for shoes, it can't hurt to be extremely vigilant. I have a very narrow instep and heel area, and have worn, in the past, street shoes with a width of narrow or even slim (yes, there is such a thing). In more recent years, I've changed this approach. I order the Sanshas in a wide width, because the width is primarily in the toe region and I can get good spread. For street shoes, I have the same approach, buying nothing but shoes with wide toe boxes that have laces or a strap at the instep to hold that area snug. I never, ever 'break in' a pair of shoes. They either fit or they don't. I'm wondering if something else might work for you -- I have also tried a ballet slipper made by Capezio that has a cushioned insole. It's a leather slipper that fits so well you don't even need to sew on elastics. It's a little pricey, but extremely comfortable.

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Thanks for the moral support and words of wisdom!

 

I have indeed been stretching (as a matter of fact, this is one of my favorite trick questions to ask people about their calf muscle). If it doesn't help, it surely can't hurt! (no pun inteneded)

 

I also stick to the shoes that give my feet room to breathe (both in class and out), so I can't see it being a problem there.

 

Luckily I will be in NYC within a month, and will be able to visit Harkness. Until then, its just me and my tennis ball.

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I knew a dancer with a neruoma. Apparently, taking time off can sometimes help but it didn't help her. She had to get surgery to remove part of the offending nerve. With the surgery over, it was a matter of gaining strength again for performance. Really, she recovered quite well and didn't even miss a season.

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