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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Problems in Demi-Pointe


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I periodically have a strange problem when I go into demi-pointe and was wondering if anyone has ever experienced the same thing. I bring it up, because yesterday, I was having a very non-balancing sort of night and I think this was the source of the problem. Basically, when I went up into demi-pointe, I was having a hard time actually keeping the ball of my foot down - it was as though I was going up actually a little past demi-pointe, if that makes any sense. It was one of those moments when my foot does not want to cooperate with what my brain is telling it to do (seems to happen a lot in ballet). I did notice, last night, that my feet were a little swollen when I put my shoes on (hot day, lots of walking around), and it felt like there was less room for my fourth and fifth toe. I don't know if there is any correlation. Has any one else had this problem? Am I just a freak? :yucky:

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You more or less went over onto ¾ pointe. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you can control it. Your feet were probably tired from lots of walking, so a cold foot bath will help with that the next time it happens.

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I do this sometimes, mostly because my big toe joints are just not very flexible - actually they are quite a bit less flexible than my other toe joints :D . My demi point isn't very high because of that (which I suspect contributes to occassional flare ups of achilles tendonitis). Sometimes if I stay where I anatomically should be in demi point, I roll to the outside because my outside toe joints are looser.

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After I had my bunion surgeries one of the main recovery issues I had to contend with was decreased mobility in the big toe joints. My podiatrist assigned me exercises where I stabilized the toe at the base between my thumb and index finger, and used my other hand to push the toe down and pull it up (making sure not to move side to side—same principle as Theraband exercises for your ankle). He said that it is easier to recover mobility in the upward direction (what happens when you rise on demi) than pointing down, because walking naturally stretches you out that way, and normal people don't really need to point their toes down. I asked him if the exercise would be beneficial later, or if I had a limited window to improve. He said that it would help any time, since what I was working was stiff soft tissue and ligaments. Of course one is limited by the structure of one's bones. I would say I am extremely close to my pre-surgery mobility and my demi-point is as high—he did a good job! I wouldn't say it has affected my regular point too much either, because I need to point more from the arch than from bending my toes (but that's another discussion). So I think it is possible for us to work on these things up to a point. With proper advice, it doesn't hurt to try.

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