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How to Find Podiatrist Familiar With Ballet?


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Dd pronates and I'd really like to have her seen by a podiatrist. That being said, I don't know who to trust. Her gp has told us every year not to worry about it, that it would all fall in place. Without taking as much ballet as she takes (3x week plus rehearsals) her feet would never have improved. For those who have gone to a podiatrist, how have you found the recommendation?


Where can I find a list of the best exercises for pronating?



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If there is a professional dance company in your town or nearby, I would call them and ask if they have a doctor they use for their dancers.

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How old is your DD? My daughter had a similar problem from a very young age, and was also told by her pediatrician not to worry, that she would out grow, and not to waste time on a podiatrist, they would simply prescribe expensive, useless orthotics. Our Dr did say if we were still concerned to consult an orthopedist, since the problem usually originates further up the leg, not the feet. So far he is right, she is 10 and only when she is really, really tired do we see a ghost of her old problem. They have never seen it in dance. Hope this helps. :dry:

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Contact Cascade DAFO.


I realize you asked for exercises. But if the issue is structual then no exercises will help. The best thing to do is phone these people and see if they can direct you to someone who has expereince in pronation and the underlying causes.


They make Custom and prefab orthodics. Call or e-mail them to find out which doctors they work with in your area. They will have a list. If they dont have one in your area then you can request your Doctor become a Vendor for them and they will cast and make them for you.


My daughter wears a DAFO custom brace that encloses her entire foot and ankle, and then runs behind her leg to her knees and then velcros underneath her knee cap.


My Chiropodist called Cascade and talked with their fitters specifically about my daughters dancing. They worked with her to create a brace for my daughter that will not interfer with the muscle development for dance. They are very knowledgeable. The first brace my doctor choose ended up not being appropriate for a child who danced as much as my DD did, so they choose another brace for her.


They create shoe inserts, SMOs and AFO's depending on the levell of support needed.


Here is the link. My dancing daughter wears the DAFO 3.5 semi rigid strut. (Under " Custom DAFO's)



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Dd just turned 10. She wasn't dancing very much until she was 8, and there had been no improvement. At 9.5 she started dancing 3 times a week, and I can see an improvement. I just feel frustrated that perhaps things would have been further along if I'd followed up on it when she was younger.


While we see an improvement with the increase in her ballet schedule, I'm not sure exactly what's going on with her foot (definitely more pronounced with one foot) and want someone to take a look at her.


Should I be looking into an orthopedist rather than a podiatrist?

Edited by Cuckoomamma
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In my non-dance mom life, I deal with a lot of physicians, so I would recommend that you consult the regular treating physician and ask for a referral to an ortho. If the ortho feels that a podiatrist would be a better choice, he/she will tell you, but if it has anything to do with lower leg issues, it seems that the ortho would be a better bet. Also, some do specialize in sports medicine (although dance ones are harder to find.)


Also, it seems that there is a lot of questions lately about the value of orthotics. See this article from the New York Times;



Here is a quote:

Then what, Dr. Nigg asked in series of studies, do orthotics actually do?


They turn out to have little effect on kinematics — the actual movement of the skeleton during a run. But they can have large effects on muscles and joints, often making muscles work as much as 50 percent harder for the same movement and increasing stress on joints by a similar amount.


As for “corrective” orthotics, he says, they do not correct so much as lead to a reduction in muscle strength.


Makes me a bit wary, myself.

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As an orthotic wearer for the last 20 years - plantar fasciitis, leg length discrepancy and very high arches - I found this article a bit puzzling. My DD also wore them for accessory navicular tarsal and they helped her pain for several years. She does not need them any longer now that her growth is finished and her pain under control. I know I would not be walking if it were not for my orthotics. Without them, I have extreme knee and foot pain.


I would like to see more studies done with people who were given orthotics that were thought to correct their problem, not ones that "felt good". Typically, it takes a few weeks to adjust to new orthotics, especially because they are correcting a problem. I find that being in the correct structural position requires adjustments on my part, and it does not always feel good in the beginning. But that is exactly the point if it is "correcting" a problem. So I wonder how many studies have been done where the doctors chose the orthotics. It does not surprise me that different doctors chose different orthotics. No medical field that I know is a precise science; each human body is different and requires different approaches. Even with drugs for medical treatment, there is much trial and error by the patient.


The article mainly discussed using orthotics to "improve" performance. The original studies mentioned healthy athletes, not those who had some type of orthopedic problem. So for purposes of discussions concerning correcting a skeletal or muscular problem, this might not be the best article.

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I am a mom of a DD age 10 (almost 11, MOM!!! and don't forget that!). I am also a ballet teacher.


I noticed pronating of the foot and knee and thigh while watching my daughter walk away from me in a bathing suit. I had noticed slight pronation before in her ballet class, but she would correct it easily when I would tell her. MY concern as a mother was not during ballet class, but during life. I could see that this could potentially and probably bother her later in life (she already complained about sore ankles and knees).


Our local professional ballet company and wonderful friend Clara76 :) had recommended a fabulous podiatrist who had treated me long ago for a pinched nerve in my foot.


Our pediatrician insisted that she did not need orthodics. I went above him and scheduled the appointment with the podiatrist. She had such a flat foot that her legs had no choice but to roll in. Better to spend the $400 for the orthopedics to help correct her stance now rather than deal with multiple issues later (ankle, knee, hip, back problems). My rationale for the orthodics is...she is in dance for 3 hrs 4x week, but stands during the day for much longer. No amount of ballet will correct her alignment enough for a 10yo to correct easily during the day in school. Some correction, yes, but not enough without the help of the inserts.


I highly recommend calling the professional ballet company in your area to find out who they have on staff. You can then call that person to explain problem and ask who they would recommend.

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  • 10 years later...

a) Othopaedist, ideally one who knows dancers -- check with nearest professional ballet company or vocational school. She ought to be examined. Orthotics are efficient palliatives, and can compensate for anomalies caused by postural or skeletal issues, but they generally don't produce measurable changes in the pronation, and may well cause other muscle imbalances.


b) Physiotherapist, also dance-oriented -- see above for tips on finding one.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If your child is experiencing acute or recurrent foot pain then seeking the advice of a health care professional is advisable. Pronation is common in immature feet. I have been around the world of dance long enough to know that there is an unhealthy obsession with high arches and hyper-mobile feet. This causes a lot of anxiety in both parents and dancers not in possession of such feet. Increasing mobility and strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the feet can be trained over time but the shape of one’s arch is by and large genetically determined. The best thing for a young dancer’s feet is age-appropriate training. Lisa Howell over at the Ballet Blog is a great source of evidence-based info on this topic. 

Edited by balletmomcuriosa
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