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One leg Longer than other..


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Hi! I have been having a little struggles with my tendus with my left foot, it's slightly shorter than my right and it's more difficult to get it to get into the ground and move through pointe as my teacher is telling me (sorry I'm trying to explain this as best I can), but my right foot I do the tendus perfect. Do you have any advice?

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Hi Giselle.


First, slightly shorter? What does that mean? Like 1 Centimeter or 3 millimeter?


Unfortunately, most dancers have to deal with obstacles like this. One leg longer thatn the other, scoliosis, one foot with a great arch and perfect for point shoes and the other one..., not so.


There are many exercises you can do to improve your foot work with for example "therra bands" (thats what we call it in europe, it might have a different name in the us). You probably also have to give special attention to articulation. Making sure that you articulate properly each time you stretch you foot and also when your foot comes back from the tendu. Do not cramp your muscles but try to make complete movements. With time, your foot work should improve.

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Is your foot shorter or your leg? A tendu is an extension to the point where your toes are barely touching the floor.


Perhaps you are sicling your foot or something else that is not related to the length of your leg.


All the best!

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Most people have one leg longer than the other, and often feet too. I have a difference in foot size of almost half a size (in the European sizing system). Basically, as far as I understand it, our bodies are not symmetrical, to a greater or lesser extent, and we learn naturally to adjust!

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Hi! I have been having a little struggles with my tendus with my left foot, it's slightly shorter than my right and it's more difficult to get it to get into the ground and move through pointe as my teacher is telling me (sorry I'm trying to explain this as best I can), but my right foot I do the tendus perfect. Do you have any advice?


If you know your leg difference is enough to be causing you problems (less than half an inch isn't bad at all) then it's probably not worth the bother, but living with a major difference will eventually lead to some scoliosis (curvature of the spine) from your body compensating over time. Check with your doctor and teacher, but you could very well benefit from a small lift.


For barre, you might want to see about getting a lift in your flat slipper for the shorter side. My left leg is nearly an inch shorter than my right, and while I can function without a little lift on the shorter side, I do much better (and have much better alignment) when I do use a lift. It's definitely noticeable for example during battement tendu en croix; hard to keep your alignment when your working leg is longer than your supporting leg.


A sports medicine doctor can help and point you to a cobbler in your area that does lifts or you can build up the shoe yourself. I take foam insoles, cut them to size, glue the layers of insole together to get the thickness I need and then glue velcro on the bottom of the insole, and the other side of the velcro inside my left shoe -that way it doesn't slide around, but I can take it out if I need/want to. You don't have to lift the whole shoe, if your slippers have a split sole just add the lift to the heel section.


Of course for pointe, there isn't much you can do, but I don't notice the difference as much on pointe, as I do in flat slippers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have the same problem, not too much of a difference, but noticeable to myself and others if they look hard enough. I really just try to adjust as well as I can in tendu, meaning that if the longer leg is the supporting one, the shorter working leg's heel might be a hair off the floor as I close to fifth unless it's the end of the combination. Less shifting around that way and more stable. Sure, I get corrected for it sometimes, but teachers will always say "more this and that" even if you're at your anatomical limit, so I just take it in stride...you can always meet with them before/after class to let them know what's going on so they don't think you're ignoring them.

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  • 4 years later...

I'm reviving this old topic to see if anyone can recommend a type/brand of heel lift to wear inside ballet slippers. I have a new lift that I wear in my street shoes and love, but it is not something that I can put in my ballet slippers. My unequal leg length is very frustrating to me in ballet class and I am hoping that a lift can help.

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I have good and bad news SewRibbons.... As a fellow anatomical leg length differ-er (as opposed to a scoliosis or an issue in the pelvis) I have been through this. What is the extent of the leg length difference? And is it a true leg bone length difference, or a body imbalance? (In my experience they require different methods to resolve)


My short answer, is I have found nothing commercially available. I had my podiatrist help me fashion heel and ball of foot lifts that I wear in flat shoes, however our experiments had an un-intended consequence of my one foot no longer fully articulating completely anymore, so after about 6 months I developed problems with my FHL in that foot. The heel lifts have worked well, although they do not always stay in the intended place, and while most of centre is fine with just the heel, as soon as I start jumpiong I need my ball of foot lift.


Other soloutions I have tried is a heel lift in my pointe shoes (material supplied by podiatrist again), along with a solid piece inserted into the platform to raise the short leg en pointe (you know those things you stick on the bottom of chair legs to stop them scratching the floor - one of those cut in half). Or, for flat wearing old pointe shoes with one shoe de-shanked, and the other with the shank remaining to make up some height difference. Or, just cutting foam inserts to shape and adding them inside shoes is an option if the difference is not too big.

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Thanks Miss Persistent. It's a 2 cm difference but I'm not sure of the source. I'll test out some lifts and/or try to craft something myself. I think only a heel lift is necessary because I just take a beginning ballet class where our jumps are only simple sautes and the leg length differential hasn't been as issue. It's a huge frustration at barre, though. I need to get more length in the short leg to make room for the long leg to be pulled back in. Now it's all coming back to me - I had to stop dancing as a teenager due to back problems resulting from forcing square hips with legs of different lengths.

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Wow! 2cm is an impressive difference! I only ask about the source of the problem because from what I have gleaned from my experience if the leg length difference is a symptom of another problem, you can make the orignal problem worse by "chocking up" the short leg. However, if the leg length difference is the actualy source of the problem (as was my case) "chocking up" the short leg has wonderufl effects!


My very first attempts involved just buying a bunch of those cheap foam insoles from the Chemist, gluing them together and cutting them into various shapes. it's a good place to start to try and find something that works. I also found that in flat shoes, attaching it to your foot, as opposed to into the shoe has worked bettwer for me personally. It also means I can warm-up without my shoes on!


I also have all of my street shoes fully lifted from toe to heel, as that helps my body cope a lot better when I am in ballet class and I can't always get the full lift I need.

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Our 17 year old daughter has just started to suffer the effects of a recent uneven growth spurt. Her leg difference is 3 cms in the tibia. At Christmas we had to have treatment to realign her pelvis but the leg length issue went unnoticed!!! Her back has now started to hurt and x rays shown the beginnings of scholiosis! Not idea for a dancer! At the moment she isn't dancing whilst some of her issues are addressed properly. This includes having orthotics fitted for her street shoes, but when you spend 8 hours a day in ballet shoes it makes us wonder if the orthotics are even worth bothering with!!

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Dancemad, it's great it's been picked up now! Mine went undetected for far too many years and caused so many problems.


My opinion is that it is worth bothering with soloutions outside of class, as every little bit of help her body can get outside of ballet class will help for when she is in ballet class. However, are they just an arch support orthotic or is something to adress the length discrepency?

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Can I advise caution on making your own orthotics? Natural or self-made body imbalances will always be compensated for, and can have a chain reaction in other areas -- transferred pain/misalignment.


If you have a natural asymmetry -- we most of us do -- then I think a good physiotherapist is your starting point. If you can' locate a ballet/dance-focussed physio, then look for a sports medicine PT. They'll be used to dealing with bodies being asked to do movements beyond the everyday.

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Yes Redbookish, that is a very good point. I have only done so under the care of a chiropractor, physio and podiatrist. (I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear enough!!) It is very true that "chocking up" (which is Australian for putting something underneath) is not to be done willy-nilly. This course of action for me was only undertaken after a diagnosis with a full pelvis to foot x-ray (life size - it's pretty impressive actually!) which I am led to believe by my practitioners is the only way to truly diagnose an anatomical leg length difference. An x-ray or investigation of just the pelvis - or just overall leg length, will not be sufficient as you may only be seeing the symptom of the body's compensation or problem elsewhere.

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  • 11 months later...

My left leg is longer then my right AND my left foot is longer then my right. I really don't have measurements on this but my feet are obvious just at a glance. I have very slight scoliosis that I was told was the type that stopped progressing when I stopped growing (I am 28). My question isn't about lifts and such as I have read through the information already existing but about when and if you ever give up on what is exactly correct technique and what works. Example. If I am doing a pirouette (my left leg the standing leg turning right) I cannot get both heels down without sitting back on my right leg. Do I cheat and not put my heel down?

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