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bent knees en pointe

Guest AmyLiz008

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Guest AmyLiz008

I'm not sure in which forum to post this question, so feel free to move it around.


I'm rather new to pointe, just started in January, and the correction I hear most often from my teacher is "Your knees are bent." They are only slightly bent. So slight in fact that I didn't even notice when looking in the mirror. Upon examination, I COULD tell a difference when I really gripped hard with my quad muscles and tried HARD to straighten them, but then I wasn't over on the platform all the way, and I feel that focusing so much energy on straightening my knees made me forget about my feet.


I have also discovered that I cannot, even with my hands, bend my feet at the ankle into the shape that they are supposed to be. The feet bend at the toes fine (for demi), but it seems that I don't have the strength? to point my foot hard enough. I have been using a theraband, so I feel strong, and I have a high arch/low instep that Major Mel called "massively strong" in a post on another forum.


I have heard of people having "extra bones" in their ankles, and having one surgically removed improves flexability. Has anyone else heard of this? Does anyone have any suggestions? :wink:

I tried searching the archives, but really had no idea which words to search for.


The shoes I wear now are Capezio Glisse 7M. I'm going to try the Grishko Elite since it has a shorter vamp to see if that helps.

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It takes a long time to stretch out the parts of the ankle to the required shape. Just work your feet correctly and don't worry about it; don't strain your feet trying to point too hard too soon.

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Hi AmyLiz008! :wink:


Whenever my knees are not straight in releve, my teacher will admonish me for trying to straighten them by gripping the quads. The feeling should come from being on top of your hips properly and supporting the rotation with your adductors and top of your hamstrings. The energy for releve should be straight down, into the floor. In my case, my knees will bend a bit if the weight is too far back--a problem I have because of hyperextended knees. I'm guessing that your weight is probably a bit back because your instep doesn't have the flexibility necessary to get forward all the way onto the platform of your shoe.


Did your teacher tell you to grip the quads to straighten your knees? This isn't necessarily the best tactic. You'll end up being still too far back and holding yourself on balance with your quads. They'll get over-developed.


It really sounds like you don't have enough flexibility in the ankle in order to be properly on the platform of the shoe, which is making you compensate by bending your knees slightly in order to get all the way over. I'd guess that you need more flexibility in your feet and ankles. If it's very slight, careful pointe work at the barre will probably clear this problem up on its own. If the bending of the knees and/or inability to be on the platform is more than slight, perhaps pointe work should wait for a while.


I'm sure the teachers on this board will have some great suggestions for you. Since you're new to pointe, the surgery option is probably a bit brash for now :wub:

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I have heard of people having "extra bones" in their ankles, and having one surgically removed improves flexability.  Has anyone else heard of this?

AmyLiz008,the extra bone you are referring to is the os trigonum which it is estimated exists in 1/3 of the population. This bone may 'float free' or be attached as an extra 'lip'. It is only removed if it causes inflammation or impledes movement, but this should not, IMO be done for a 'recreational' dancer. Remember that any surgery is not without risks :D


Right now you are using a very soft shoe with a relatively low vamp; I'm not sure that the Grishko will be much of an improvement. You should not be 'gripping' your quads (or any other muscle for that matter!). The strength needed to straighten your knees and be properly over your shoe, comes from coordinating all the muscles from the hip downward (and the spine upward). If you think of 'extending down through the floor' instead of going up onto pointe, you may have more success...

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Guest AmyLiz008

Thanks to everyone for the helpful insights. I was a bit concered about my quads becoming over-developed. My teacher never told me to correct the problem this way, it's just the only way I could manage it. Are there any stretches (besides the couch stretch) that I could do to slowly improve my ankle flexibility? I realize that nothing will be quick since I'm not a teenager anymore, but there has to be something that will work. Did I mention that I'm impatient? :D

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