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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weird feet: possible metatarsus adductus, hyperextended big toe


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Hi everyone!


For a long time I've noticed that my feet are kind of weird. When not pointed, they look quite normal, even attractive. When in pointe shoes or technique slippers, they look pretty decent. However, when I point my feet, my big toes hyperextend (curve upwards instead of down like most people's) and on each foot my 4 smaller toes all angle inward toward the big toe (medially). I am not sure, but suspect I may have a mild case of metatarsus adductus. This makes me very self-consious even though no one else ever really sees my bare feet pointed.


I am generally hypermobile, if that matters. However, due to os trigonum I just have a decent range in terms of pointing through my ankles, and somewhat limited range in terms of eversion (much more inversion, though I am strong and can avoid sickling easily). None of my toes overlap/ This oddity of the feet does not cause me any pain or discomfort, but just embarrasses me when I see how other dancers toes, despite bunions/bunionettes and hammertoes/mallet toes/claw toes, somehow manage to line up neatly. Does anyone else have anything similar? Or has anyone (especially teachers) had students with similar feet?


Is there anything that I should be mindful of in terms of pointe work? For example, should I be using toe spacers or working on any specific exercises outside of class? Should I tape my toes with a bit of tension to sort of splint them into normal alignment?


If anyone has any insight at all I'd be very appreciative, this has been bothering me for years! Thank you!



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Not going to give you any advice, but I just wanted to point out that it is anatomically completely normal to have a much bigger inversion range than eversion. That's just how it is.

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The only thing I can say is that if it doesn't hurt you, then leave it be. You might end up making pain just for aesthetic reasons, when your foot actually works well the way it is. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it...."

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I agree with Ancient Dancer. We all have bits of our bodies about which we're more or less self-conscious. But if your feet work, do what you want them to do, and help you dance, then leave be!

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Thanks for all the replies! Lidewij- you are correct, and I am aware of this fact, but my inversion is quite a few degrees higher than normal unfortunately (so says my PT's goniometer) and I only have a few degrees of inversion that I can use while plantarflexed due to a weirdly positioned os trigonum. Luckily The os is on the smaller side. :-)


Ancient dancer, Redbookish, I suppose you are correct in saying to leave things alone if they are working... I was inquiring about the use of a toe spacer because people use them to prevent the big toe joint from angling too far inward... by the same token, I figure the same device could help to keep my 2nd &3rd toes from angling toward the big toe. I've gotten a pair but haven't danced with them yet... My preliminary impression is that they do seem to increase my comfort level, but I'll have to see if that's true after a pointe class :-)



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Could you see a Physio for advice? I wear a spacer (only en pointe) as I have a slight bunion but that is to realign my toe into its natural position. It sounds like you are doing the opposite, your alignment is naturally slightly curved nd you want to force it to be straighter? I'm not an expert and may have misunderstood though? My concern is that if you are hypermobile the small joints of those toes may partially dislocate if that isn't their natural position?

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