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AliceInWonderland

Does my daughter have good ballet feet?

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My DD is 10 years old.  I'm a bit of a novice but understand that you need a certain type of foot to succeed in ballet.  Does my DD have good feet and what else should I be looking for?

 

 

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She dances beautifully and with her heart so hoping she has the other ingredients!!

 

Any help most gratefully received!

 

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Welcome to the forum :)  

 

Can't really help with anything useful about your dd's feet, except to say they look rather my my dd's which have always been good and strong for pointe work - but not with that lovely arch that catches the eye (but has it's own problems).  Others will be able to tell you more about that.

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All I will say is that although there are many different exercises you can do to strengthen and improve feet, essentially all you can do is make the best of what you have got. No amount of exercises will give you "banana feet" if you don't have them - but then again that type of foot can be prone to injury, fall out of pointe shoes, and so on.

 

Exercises given by the Dance physio have improved my dd's feet no end, but her feet are still quite straight. She makes up for it by having flat turnout and beautiful arms - and trying to make the best of what you've got!

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Every type of foot has its own advantages and drawbacks and although I am not a teacher or ballet professional, your daughter's feet don't look totally 'straight' or flat to me. My DD has 'banana' feet, exclaimed over and admired as they are so pretty (and she is not allowed to wear split soles as her feet can appear too arched in them - and she needs no help in achieving a fully pointed look), but managed to break a pair of pointe shoes in one lesson simply working in class, with no previous manipulation of the shoes. She then looked as though she was about to go right over in the shoes, very bad for my nerves! - although she is blessed with strong feet and didn't feel in danger herself, as she was able to pull out of the shoes despite saying that they were no longer providing support. Banana feet can, I understand, be weak when compared with less arched feet; although my DD doesn't have weak feet, her super arches are not good for the purse when she can break pointe shoes so quickly.....;-) Every foot (and body) type will have positives and negatives.

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Guest Pinny105

all i know is don't do what our old teacher told another pupil to do ,which is to bend the foot over physically !!! saying that would create the desired effect , correct me if i am wrong but the only way to getting nearer to strong feet ,is to follow a routeen of metatarsal exercises using a band and tea towel ,keep the toes long and in line ,a huge big toe is a bit of a misfortune,or it being bigger and longer than the rest of ones toes . Its all about the line as I've been reliably informed ! I think her feet look lovely :) 

Also they don't just come on over night ,all dancers feet need constant working on and taking care of ,also DO NOT let your teacher put your dd on pointe unless she has strong feet and over 11 at least ,ask for an assessment with a physiotherapist that deals with ballet students  . :)

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I have to say pinny105, from personal experience of my son that if you are GENTLE and stretch the top of the feet it can actually improve them.  As long as you do it alongside the other strengthening exercises. My son has improved his feet considerably after much of this work. He also uses a footstretch (controversial maybe?) and this has helped. Aliceinwonderland, I think your daughter's feet look strong and workable and she could probably improve her arch a bit. They are not amazing ballet feet but they are nice enough :) In terms of looking for other things, my top eye catching characteristic is musicality and the way a dancer expresses him/her self to the music. And a strong core! There are so many things to look for - your teacher should guide you.

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My ddS arches have also improved over the years.Well I think it is the ankle joint that has gained more flexibility along with the other joints of the foot and the muscles in the foot have got more fexible due to pointing so much.However,i can see that there is a limit to how much more she can achieve.

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Guest Pinny105

 

Pro-Arch®, Ballet Foot Stretch® and otherfoot-stretching devices work by placing pressure at the sole or plantar aspect

of the foot to stretch the top or dorsum of the foot. It then allows the dancer to straighten his/her leg and presumably improve both arch height and plantar

flexion range.

Dancers have mimicked this stretch in the past by shoving their feet under radiators, pianos, bookshelves, etc. The only difference between

that and using these devices is the application of the smooth bump that pushes onto the sole of the foot !!!

 

WHY IS THIS BAD


The foot is a very complex structure anatomically.

There is a highly intricate web of overlapping muscles, tendons and ligaments that assist with a locking

mechanism of the foot allowing you to stand and walk properly.

Stabilizing your foot are strong ligaments on the sole and a large number of very weak ligaments on the top of the foot.

 

When stretching the foot in a forceful nature as discussed above ,the small ligaments of the foot may be weakened or compromised.

This reduces the body's ability to attenuate forces through the foot and allow for proper gait (how we walk), stand or jump.

Or in other words

it can cause injury to your foot and possibly end your dancing career.

 

Nonetheless these devices continue to be popular for dancers trying to force their bodies into a more desirable line.


 

The safest way to achieve the proper line and form of the foot and ankle is to work at it gradually using

progressive tendu exercises and gentle stretching without external force.

Given time and persistence these lines CAN be achieved.

 

Good Luck and Safe Dancing  B)

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Guest Pinny105

or force them over like our old teacher did !!!!

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So what are the best exercises to do if your DD has completely flat feet and would like to improve her arch - or is this impossible to achieve? It has never really caused any problems when she was younger but she is increasingly finding it much harder to achieve straight legs when on pointe. Doesn't help that her little sister has a good arch and very strong ankles!

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Pro-Arch®, Ballet Foot Stretch® and otherfoot-stretching devices work by placing pressure at the sole or plantar aspect

of the foot to stretch the top or dorsum of the foot. It then allows the dancer to straighten his/her leg and presumably improve both arch height and plantar

flexion range.

Dancers have mimicked this stretch in the past by shoving their feet under radiators, pianos, bookshelves, etc. The only difference between

that and using these devices is the application of the smooth bump that pushes onto the sole of the foot !!!

 

WHY IS THIS BAD


The foot is a very complex structure anatomically.

There is a highly intricate web of overlapping muscles, tendons and ligaments that assist with a locking

mechanism of the foot allowing you to stand and walk properly.

Stabilizing your foot are strong ligaments on the sole and a large number of very weak ligaments on the top of the foot.

 

When stretching the foot in a forceful nature as discussed above ,the small ligaments of the foot may be weakened or compromised.

This reduces the body's ability to attenuate forces through the foot and allow for proper gait (how we walk), stand or jump.

Or in other words

it can cause injury to your foot and possibly end your dancing career.

 

Nonetheless these devices continue to be popular for dancers trying to force their bodies into a more desirable line.


 

The safest way to achieve the proper line and form of the foot and ankle is to work at it gradually using

progressive tendu exercises and gentle stretching without external force.

Given time and persistence these lines CAN be achieved.

 

Good Luck and Safe Dancing  B)

 

I can't emphasize enough how much I agree with this.

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Guest Pinny105

So what are the best exercises to do if your DD has completely flat feet and would like to improve her arch - or is this impossible to achieve? It has never really caused any problems when she was younger but she is increasingly finding it much harder to achieve straight legs when on pointe. Doesn't help that her little sister has a good arch and very strong ankles!

Honey you need to see a professional Physiotherapist ,I can advise you, but you need a program tailored to you DDs needs. Even if she doesn't  continue to dance it will help her when she's older in regards to her general well-being ok Also you are worrying me about your DD being on pointe with out a strong base. 

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All very good advice. Healthy feet are going to last longest. Luckily my DSS has very strong feet and no problems as yet and his teacher is pleased with his progress and knows he uses a footstretch. He has been encouraged to stretch his feet. He also works very hard through the floor and the combination of both has had great results. There have been many discussions on the forum about the merits of footstretch devices, so have a look back if anyone wants to learn more. Lots of people hate them, but my son has been pleased with it. Good to make an informed decision so thanks for the extra info pinny.

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Guest Pinny105

that ok Belljul thank you  ;)

 

forearmed is forewarned

but if you ask any paediatric I think you will find they agree with the latter  -_-

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And of course, just to add complications, it may not be the foot (or just the foot) that needs work - it could be that the back of the leg may not be engaging properly. My dd was having trouble getting over onto the platforms of her pointe shoes when she started pointe, and we thought the problem was at the front of her foot.

 

Turned out the hamstring and muscles in the back of the leg weren't strong enough to help the foot point fully. An exercise programme (using nothing more than therabands) has sorted the problem out and now she has no trouble getting over perfectly. I just assumed - as you do - that the problem was at the front of the foot!

 

So I would always take the advice of teachers and a jolly good physio so that you get the right exercises for your problem! Never assume. :-)

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