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Sobering consideration

Guest LizzyA

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Just sharing this in case it helps someone else's child.


Yesterday we got our 3rd medical opinion, this time from a dance specialist doctor. According to this doctor, had I caved into the pressure to allow my 10 year old dd to go on pointe without pushing for more information and searching for the right sources she could have been dealing with pain so severe as to require foot surgery and inability to dance within 5 years.


She has a hallux valgus (commonly known as bunions) for which she is receiving treatment from a non-dance specialist who advised against pointe work generally. The dance specialist confirmed this opinion based on her current age and x-rays since pointe work before skeletal maturity will just negate any treatment and make her condition worse, faster and probably induce arthritis as a teen. The risks don't go away entirely but waiting does buy her time at least for some correction to take place and permanant serious damage to be avoided.


I know this isn't a consideration for most dancing children but I'm sharing our experience since it would have been so easy for all this to have gone under everyone's radar and for dd to have gone on pointe without anyone screaming 'check this out and wait!'. I had to do most of the screaming myself with little support or approval from either her school and the other parents there nor even her non-dance-expert podiatrist who considers ballet lessons tantamount to child abuse anyway. So before your young child goes on pointe please do take her for a medical exam and x-ray by a knowledgeable medical person even if this is not required by her school.


The doctor in this case has treated many professional dancers (including at least one legend), absolutely loves and respects the art but also recognizes that Russians (dd's school is very Russian) give their all to their art and will often dance through all kinds of pain. He told me of a male Russian dancer he once treated who had a broken bone in his ankle and danced through the pain for 5 performances much to the amazement of this doctor.


As for dd. we are now taking this a year at a time and re-evaluating what to do as we go. Question for teachers: if she has to wait until 14/15 to start pointe work is this too late if she does intend to be a professional?





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Not necessarily, Lizzy. It's late, but far more important that the feet are ready to handle it. If she starts before that happens, it will hurt her chances even more, as she could have so much pain that she could not dance anyway. :dry:

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