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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arthritis in my feet ?


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Does any of you of problems of arthritis ? In my case, my feet have been hurting since I take more ballet classes, presently three a week. My toes hurt and I never go on pointes, juste demi-pointes.

In my class, there are three ex-dancers who told me they have arthritis all over and they are in their fourties.

If I take some anti-inflammatory pills, it is better.

I would hate to have to give up some classes.

Do any of you have the same problem and some suggestions ?

Sorry for my mistakes, english is not my mother language. Thanks in advance.


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For how long have you been taking three classes per week?

Could it be that your feet have not become accustomed to the extra work, yet?

Where exactly is the pain, and when does it come and is it more or less before you start doing things with your feet?


Of course it is possible to have arthritis at any time, but it does not automatically mean that pain = arthritis. :)



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We can't diagnose you over the internet, Tatiana. If the pain is such that you are uncomfortable -- that is, if the pain is more than you might expect to have when you start making your body do unfamiliar things! then you may want to see your doctor.

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I have arthritis in my big toes. I am forty-four and have danced/taught my entire life. Theraband exercises are very good for the feet. As is the towel pulling with bare feet where you put a towel on the floor and sit or stand using only your toes to pull the towel toward you.


BTW, I don' have pain from the arthritis but I do have a problem with the capsule under the second toe that causes pain. I went to physical therapy for it for a few months where they did a lot of foot strenghtening as well as electical stimulation. Generally, I have more of a problem with limited movement of the big toe, being able to separate it from the others and move it independently.

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Thank you for your replies. My feet hurt especially on Saturday, after my ballet classes of Thurday and Friday, maybe to days in a row is too much.But I like it, as these are the same classes, which is good for my memory. Since we do in each class some jumping, it may due to it. The pain is under the feet, just walking bare foot on a hard floor hurts. And after the ballet class, the toes are painful from being on demi pointes. After two days without class, I am again ok.


To-day I saw my GP, she knows I have some arthritis elsewhere, and she prescribed me some products to help the articulations, it is called Flexea and contains glucosamine. I will see whether it will help after a month or two.


Diane, it is the second year in a row that I take three classes a week. To-day I did not go to my class, just to rest a little.


Tangerintwist, strange that you have arthritis only on the big toes. My GP told me, that when we have arthritis in the hand, we probably have arthritis in many places... And I have some in my hand. It is not encouraging. But it will not stop me from moving and dancing..

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Guest Pas de Quoi

Hello Tatiana: There is lots that can be done to help with feet issues such as you describe! Here is a great resource (I know I've mentioned it before) It's The Perfect Pointe by Lisa Howell. This book has been so helpful for my students of all ages and technique levels.


http://www.amazon.com/The-Perfect-Pointe-Book-pointe/dp/1452857407 Pricey, but worth the money, IMO :)

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional! ;)


Have you considered possibly a plantar fascia issue? Is the pain worse in the mornings, and under the sole/arch of the foot? If so it might be the plantar fascia, and the condition might be plantar fasciitis. (Very common in runners).


Especially since you mention it hurting after jumping, this might be the culprit. Just be really sure when you jump to always, always make sure you get the heels down with every jump! It's so easy to 'cheat' that part, especially with very quick petit allegro, but it's really incredibly bad for the feet and tendons not to get the heel down. And of course, a good plie every jump is important to absorb the impact.

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Thank you Pas de quoi. I am not sure whether this book will be usefull for me, as I do not go on pointe any more, just half pointe.

All the girls in my class do the same, even the ex-professional dancers, nobody goes on pointe in my three classes. We just dance

for pleasure. Pointes are good to go on the scene or for a performance. We are all adults, in one class girls are between 20 and 30

and in the other classes, between 20 and 50 and two men of about 40.


Silkmaiden, thanks for your advice. I just did some little jumps in front of the mirror to check whether my heels touch the floor finishing

the jump. I think yes. It also might be plantar fasciitis (I have to check to see what it is), as on top of my dancing, I hike every day

at least an hour (but I do not run any more, following the advice of my doctor).


What a wonderful site, I really appreciate to receive such quick answers, many thanks. I live in France and I do not think there is such

a forum in French.

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I've got arthritis in my foot and back and probably other places that I don't know about. It's one of those things that comes with age I am told. I don't think my arthritis is bad, however. I did have pain in one foot several years ago, but medication and exercising the joint eliminated the pain. I can't remember what the medication was. The exercise was essentially moving through the joint's range of motion, ignoring any pain. No one told me to do that. I did it on my own.


I've been told one of the best ways of dealing with arthritis is to exercise. At this stage of my life (I'm 69) I spend more time exercising than dancing. I think that has helped my dancing in that my inevitable physical degeneration thus far has been slow.


You might try going to the Arthritis Foundation web site and seeing what they have to say.

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Garyecht, you seem to be in good shape at your "young" age, ballet really helps staying slim, in good shape with the right muscles.

I suppose we all get arthritis. I have some voltarene pills which help immediately. As you say, exercising is probably the best way to

eliminate the pain. Are you still taking ballet classes or are you a ballet teacher ? If I read all your messages, I could find out.

Is there a way to find other messages of a person ?

So I will just keep on dancing and walking. I love both and I have enough time too.

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I also have arthritis, and sometimes it is worse than other times.

I agree with Garyecht in that working through the pain - in exercises to maintain as much range-of-motion in the joint as possible - does seem to help in the long run.

But, there are times, such as now, when winter is fast upon us and there is little or no sunshine and the air is cold and damp, that the pain seems to never go away.


Plantar faciitis could well be one of the things causing pain; the fact that you have had this for so long means that it is probably not going to go away very soon on its own. -sigh-

If you are in France, you might be able to get to see a doctor - preferably one who knows dancers or at least feet - fairly soon, or? That is probably a good idea, just to rule out anything which would require more aggressive treatment. It would be a shame if you "missed something", and that ended up in you missing dance!



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Tatiana, I'm not a teacher. Just an ordinary guy. I'm pretty sure you can read any Ballet Talk poster's responses, though I don't know how to do it.


I'm strictly a modern dancer now though I'll do some ballet things (usually turns used in ballet class) when I work at home. I do the ballet things just for fun. I do everything bare footed because 90% of the time I spend working is devoted to modern. One good thing about getting old is being retired. I can spend every morning doing nothing but exercising, dancing, and recovering (ice, self-massage, progressive relaxation).

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It ist just wonderful to have plenty of time to exercice at home, watch ballet parts on youtube etc, I do the same as I have plenty of time too and I just try to improve a little.


These two last nights I took each night an anti-inflammatory pill and now my feet feel good again and I shall go back to my classes at the end of

the week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again,

Thanks for all your messages. To-day I did not go to my ballet class, it hurts too much when I go on half toe. I saw doctors... They give me a prescription for orthopedic soles. I have a valgus which pushes the second toe. I read that it is better not to have surgery on the valgus, as it is difficult afterwards or impossible to go on half toes. I think many dancers have valgus problems and feet problems. But I am not a dancer, it is also a question of age. I feel

a little depressed if I cannot go to my classes. Perhaps three times a week one and a half hour is too much ? I also walk every day at least another.


It is so frustrating. Who had foot surgery and is happy with it ? I want to try everything to avoid surgery which is no garanty for improvement.

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