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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Loose foot muscles/rolling in?


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My dd is extremely flexible and loose is all her joints, which is helpful in some ways, for doing splits and giving her a naturally high extension etc., and not so in others. One place it is a real problem is in her feet, which have very pretty arches when pointed, or on demi-pointe, but when she is just standing, look as though she is rolling in, sort of. This is when she is just standing around, not even turning out, so it 's not per se a question of forcing her turnout, it seems just to be the way her feet are made. Her father's feet are the same, and if you look at their footprints, the front part of the foot is barely connected to the heel.


My dd began doing Pilates this spring with a very good instructor doing basic exercises, and she wants my dd to think about standing on the "four points" of her feet, two in the forefoot, two at the heel, in order to lift the inner part of her foot away and get her weight more evenly distributed. I am concerned that this looseness in her foot to will affect everything from the bottom up, although most of her instructors don't seem too concerned; in fact one of her comments this year from the faculty of her school was "good feet", .


Meanwhile, she just started doing beginning pointe for a few minutes at the end of each class this past year, and her feet look nice in pointe shoes, although if you look at the bottoms for wear there is evidence that the insides are more worn than the outsides, which to me would seem to indicate that she IS rolling in, at least somewhat. She is a tall, strong 11.5 year old who was given the okay by two well-respected MDs to do pointe work (to my amazement I might add).


Help!!!??? Major Mel? Ms. Leigh? Comments? Advice? Exercises to try? Inserts (???never heard of this before SAji's posting), or should I just relax? Is this something that will get in the way of her progressing properly, i.e. a continuing problem? How serious? What to do?. :innocent:

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Sounds like she has a really good "ballet foot", however, it can also be weak and will need to be carefully watched by her teachers. Pilates should help, and I would think perhaps a visit to a Podiatrist might be in order in terms of a possible insert for her street shoes, just to help keep from bearing too much weight on the inside of her foot. She must be kept to very little and very basic pointe work, always checking that she is standing in the right place on the shoe. This is her teacher's job.

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My dd's feet are also very flexible and look beautiful when pointed, but they flatten out when she is standing. I thought the rolling in was caused by loose ANKLES though, and tell her to "pull up her ankles". She had an ankle problem last year, and the physiotherapist she saw gave her some exercises to strengthen her ankles.


Ms. Leigh, why do you suggest that mcrm55's dd be "kept to very little and basic pointework" - is this a short or long term recommendation? My daughter has very strong legs and can stand on demi with good weight placement, so I'm hoping she won't have problems with pointe.


mcrm55, I'm sure you have noticed the need for supportive street shoes. I'm currently trying to limit dd's flip-flop wearing (pool only).

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I recommended that because she is only 11 and a half, and because she has extremely flexible feet, which require slow and careful strengthening. Letting her do too much too soon on pointe would not help in building the strength to do it correctly.

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I just want to add the my youngest rolls in with weak ankles. I ordered inserts for her street shoes off the internet. There are many types available. You order based on your child's shoe size. We ordered one pair that were leather and a more gentle support, and one pair that were plastic and quite inflexible. She actually feels most comfortable with the plastic insert. I put it off for years thinking it would be very expensive, requiring a trip to primary care physician then a specialist. It was very easy, effective and about $35, I think.

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May the nurse add a note?


Dancers with foot pronation are at increased risk of metatarsal fractures and plantar fasciitis. It's not just a muscle issue...when the foot pronates, the bones, ligaments and tendons shift which causes misalignment of the foot, leg and hip and increases risk of injury. It's like the song "The hip bone is connected to the leg bone." Often an insert is just the trick but ith the younger dancers, I'd recommend a podiatrist exam first.


I took my dd to a podiatrist for one problem and found another more serious problem. It was one of those that once you point it out, it's obvious. :o


I added an info link on the nutrition/health forum.


The nurse has now exited. :flowers:

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Thank you, Babsaroo :cool2: We appreciate your input, always!

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Thanks for the link, Babsaroo. I was happy to read that "If an arch develops when the patient stands on their toes, then the flat foot is called flexible and no further treatment or work-up is necessary." - This describes my dd's feet. :cool2: I would like to take her for an evaluation by a podiatrist just to be safe, as I do understand what you are saying about alignment and everything being connected.

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You're welcome. :cool2:


A few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes if someone was telling me that they were going to a podiatrist. As I stumble along in dd's ballet journey, I've come to appreciate both the importance of healthy feet...and the podiatrists who treat them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mom1--I'm curious where you ordered the inserts for your daughter online. My DD needs inserts and I have a feeling our ins. co. will not cover it...I appreciate any info. :pinch:

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DD has the same problem ..."great ballet feet", but arches that disappear when not en pointe. The therapist has been taping them up to help with a chronic achilles tendonitis problem and it seems to be helping. I'm on the lookout for orthotics as well. Any suggestions?

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DD turned 13 in Jan so just outside the age range but she has the rolling in / pronation problem being discussed. I noticed it when she was about 10. Her feet are flatish when standing flat and look great pointed, just like dancing daughters. Over the past three years we have noticed a decrease in pronation which I feel was achieved through a combination of things.

1) orthotic inserts for her street shoes 2) no bare feet or flip flops, except at the pool. 3) Birkenstocks for foot wear around the house 4) very gradual increase in pointe work with loads of foot exercises in class.

This combo I feel has really made a difference in DD. Rarely do I see pronation anymore and she's actually developing an arch when standing flat. Not a huge one but enough to be noticeable.

Ballet seems to put alot of stress on feet so I really feel it was important to give dd the best "foundation" we could. Tutumonkey :shrug:

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The other reason for pronation is that the turn-out muscles are not strong enough, and therefore allow the navicular bone to drop. It is important to insure that the adductors and abductors & innner thigh muscles are properly controlling turn-out from the hips. The use of proper rotation will contribute to getting rid of pronating feet.


Clara 76

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  • 11 months later...

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