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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Rolling" off pointe badly


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I don't know why, but just last week I started "rolling" off pointe (my ankle completely gives out and I fall off toward my pinky toe) when I try to balance on my right foot. It happened a few times last week, which caught my attention because it has only rarely happened, even when I was first dancing in centre en pointe. Then yesterday, I couldn't do much at all en pointe on that foot: my ankle suddenly felt completely twisted during chainees, I actually FELL during piques, and my ankle collapsed on several other occasions.


This really scares me, but I have no idea what's wrong. I have no pain or soreness in my ankles, so there is no injury causing the problem. I also have never felt any pain after falling off pointe. I dance consistently and have been en pointe since November, so I doubt it's a strength issue. It could be a technique issue, although it hasn't been a problem in the past.


I have worked up to dancing 3 days a week for a total of about 5 hours en pointe. About a month ago switched from Grishko Elites (a square shoe) to Gaynor Mindens (#2 tapered box) and am now starting to feel comfortable in them.


My instructor told me it could be a problem of over-stretching the outside of that foot and that I need to strengthen it with a theraband to compensate. Have any of you ever heard of this or had a similar problem? Is it possible that my shoes could cause this?



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I am not aware of a sickle. I've never had that problem on flat and I've never been corrected for that en pointe. I've never seen evidence of any sickle in pictures of my feet in pointe shoes either. I guess it could be developing?? No idea...

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I do the same thing on my right foot- on me it's sickling-related. The ligaments on the outside of my ankles are just really stretchy (like, I can literally walk on the outsides of my feet), so muscles have to keep things in place. It's much easier to stay on the platform on a more square shoe, so on tapered ones (which have a smaller platform, and don't let us carry any weight towards the little toes, so you can really tell then if you do this) I always have to think, stay over the big toe, stay over the big toe. Therabands help, but for me a lot of it is training your muscles to hold you in place automatically so that you don't have to think about it consciously anymore!

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Guest Pas de Quoi

It could very well be your shoes. If this is something new, only occurs when dancing on pointe, AND you are using a new kind of pointe shoe, I would seriously consider that it might be a "technical" rather than a "technique" problem. I know with my experience with Gaynors, they can be .... well ... wiggly for lack of a better word, and I have been dancing on pointe for many many years. I don't get the feeling of instability with my Grisko Ulanovas, ever.


I would suggest you consider going back to another type of shoe. It would be such a shame to really get injured! :)

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I would be inclined to agree with your teacher, it sounds like a strength issue to me. I had a problem with "rolling" like that when I first came back to pointe work after an extended absence do to a non-ankle related injury. I had been off for about 6 months so I was considerably weaker. Until I built up strength I had to work more slowly and carefully, consciously focusing on stabilizing my ankles in everything I did to avoid injuring myself. That said, I can see how this could be caused or at least exasperated by sickling or poorly-fitted poine shoes as well so you should definitely talk to your teacher about these possibilities!

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Thanks for the quick responses!


Pas de quoi: Yes, "wiggly" is exactly how I would describe them! How strange! The more I dance in them, the more wiggly and unstable they feel. Thursday was so ridiculous it was almost comical - I couldn't get through a single pass of chainee turns.


sunshineinmay: That sounds like what my instructor was saying as well. My other shoes are VERY square, so I can see how they would allow me to be a bit sloppier in my technique, whereas my tapered Gaynors are much less forgiving.

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I would maybe think of it as a three fold problem;


1. Shoe

2. Strength

3. Mind


1. Your old shoe may have been hiding a technical or alignment problem, which is now starting to show up


2. There may be a lack of strength in that ankle for some reason (has anything changed lately?) and there may also be an issue if you are not activly stretching through your leg right down from your hips, through your quads, calves and through the front of the arch to keep the foot active in the shoe. If all those points are not engaged, the weakest one will give way first.


3. Your now worried about it, so sometimes our minds start playing tricks on us and it all becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy! (Bad pirrouettes anyone?).


Practicing rises in parallel (6th position) with your ankles touching is a good place to start. Then when you're happy, move on to one leg at a time making sure your ankles are staying in alignment as you rise.


Happy rising!

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I don't dance en pointe (I'm a guy), but I'm going to echo the "alignment" comments. I'm new enough to ballet that I sometimes have a similar problem on demi. For me it's not weakness in the outside of the foot but a tightness on the inside of the instep. I can point my foot more in a slightly sickled position, and if I don't take care to stretch enough and watch my alignment and weight distribution I end up a bit torqued in demi-pointe. That leads to muscle fatigue on the outside of my calf, and that "rolling off to the outside" feeling.

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Well, today was much better, thankfully. I think my feet and ankles were just tired that day (not a strength issue, per se, but an endurance issue), which caused me to not pull up correctly through the ankles in knees. I probably feel it more in the more tapered shoes.

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