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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arthritis in my feet ?


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Hi, Tatjana,

I assume you are writing of "halux valgus"? Where the large joint of the big toe sticks out, becomes inflamed, and causes problems all 'round?

There is a possibility of having surgery - I know of several dancers who did this - and still be able to go all the way up on half-pointe, bu the surgeons have to know that this is a priority; otherwise it is impossible afterwards.

However, it is not always necessary to have the surgery.

It is possible to get the pain under control and to regain/retain flexibility of the joints and range of motion through exercises (as mentioned above), especially mobilizing the toes so that they can work independently of each other, AND wearing shoes which are really, truly wide enough so that the toes are not _in any way_ compressed. (think "duck feet") These are hard to find, but are a wonderful help.


Good luck.



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Thanks Pas de quoi and Diane.

In two days I have an appointment with a "podolog" and also with a physiotherapist. To-day I wear a sole I bought and it is so much better. So there

seem to be a solution. Thanks again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, you are all so nice to participate in the discussion.I


I saw the podolog and I got yesterday the orthopedic soles. Unfurtunately after one hour hiking my foot started hurting again. I do hope I do not have to go through surgery. The halux valgus is quite bad on one foot, therefore it hurts. The worst would be to have to give up my dancing classes altthough I am a good crawl swimmer, but I hate getting wet each time in winter and to swim in relatively cold water.


Did any of you have surgery for the halux valgus ? If yes, how is it now ?

To-morrow I fly to Switzerland, to my home town. Meanwhile I wish you all a merry Christmas !

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Good luck with finding a solution, Tatiana, and joyeux Noel/froh' Weihnacht

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Tatiana, if you are in Switzerland, there are several doctors who are quite good with dancers there. Do check out the tamed.de website. (then look under "netzwerk" and then under CH) If you also get in touch with some of the doctors who are affiliated with tamed (tanz-medizin-deutschland), they can perhaps point you in the right direction to a medical doctor who has had extensive experience with dancers, etc. (not all of those are listed on the tamed site)


Main things: - get wide-toed shoes - do GENTLE exercises to mobilize the big-toe joint - find a doctor who understands and accepts dancers. :)

Oh, and enjoy your holidays!




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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Diane,

Thanks for your information, I went on the German site you mentioned which is very interesting, but costly to become a member.

I have a double citizenship and I live in the Southwest of France.

In January I am going to see a rhumatologist and also a surgeon. I am wondering whether I could not have

the Morton syndrom. Anyway I should need a real diagnosis as walking over another hurts my left foot a lot and I do not

even dare about going to my classes next week. I shall participate in a "barre au sol", which is better than nothing and good

for the body and does not hurt my left foot.


I keep you informed later on.


I wish all members and readers of this wonderful forum a very very happy New Year 2014 enabling us to dance with

pleasure and without physical problems.



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  • 2 weeks later...



I finally have an official diagnosis : Morton's syndrom (a pinched nerve) in a toe and foot. I shall see how one can cure it. Perhaps a cortisone injection or physiotherapy ? To-morrow I goto the physiotherapyst and Wednesday to a surgeon.

Did anyone have the Morton's syndrom ?

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  • 5 years later...

HI -

Adult dancer here. Popped by to see what dancers had to say about arthritis in their feet, etc - since I was looking for any new solutions for my big toe bunion.

Love some of your answers here (which I will also look into!)🙏 ... I totally agree w/ exercise, esp yoga/ stretching the feet, toes, more...  and here's what I have to contribute...

I take SAM-e, multi-B vitamins (to recycle the SAM-e) and MSM to help rebuild joints and skin.  I'm 60.  The only pain I have really is in one big toe bunion, and I only got  that a year ago when I wore bad street shoes for too long. It's taken me over a year to unwind it well enough to walk without limping.

One of the real helps I found was to use very thin gel foot aids.  You can find these at drugstore, ebay, etc - their squishiness keeps pressure off your afflicted joints, and helps keep added stress off other joints "upstream" (ankles, knees, hips, back.) 

What turned me on to this was a documentary about elephants.  Elephants never get arthritis.  And scientists think this is b/c their feet are so squishy, they prevent shock from the aimal's weight while walking, running, etc from affecting their joints.

I use a thin gel pad (comes sewn into a nylon thong-sock) to keep the pad under my left big toe, to minimize impact and allow more healing there;  I also use a trimmed down silicone gel ring around my 4th right toe to unwind a hammer toe forming there.  I also put very thin gels in my sock before putting them on, which i then wear in my street shoes. You could do much the same with non-point dance shoes.

I  also recommend thin gel pads at the heel for all these same reasons.

❤️Hope this helps.  Def look up those vitamins, too - I get mine either at Trader Joe's or at Vitacost.

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I don't know Morton's syndrome, but one more thing -

When I was taking care of my mom, she had a clenched left hand.  At the pain clinic at Cedar-Sinai, they suggested Botox to unwind her hand.  We did it at least 2 times, and it helped quite a bit.  That's something I'm looking into re my own toe joint problems.  It's non-invasive, and can lead to permanent improvement - who knew?

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