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Hyper mobile feet problems


CeliB
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So This is probably an unusual query as its for my DS rather than a DD. DS has quite small (size 8) but hyper mobile feet with very high arches and now that he's so much bigger (6ft 1 or so) is increasingly getting problems with bruising of his feet. He has a very big jump and he feels that this compounds the problem. His explanation to me is that because the ligaments of his feet are so flexible, when he lands the bones of his feet move quite a lot and are therefore more exposed and more prone to damage/bruising.

I asked if this is a similar problem that girls with hyper mobile feet experience and he didn't think so partly because they jump less and partly because on pointe the stress is more on the ankle than the sole of the foot.

So he is doing theraband exercises to strengthen his feet, and he/we were wondering if strapping or support for the foot would help. My concern would be that this may weaken his feet further as they don't have to work as hard to maintain integrity (a bit like in the days when women wore corsets and then their abdominal muscles became weak!). But in the short term when his feet are hurting maybe it's a good thing?

So, I know this forum is not for giving medical advice, but I'm not even sure what kind of medical advice we should be seeking, a physio, an orthotics specialist, an orthopaedic person? We know a very good osteopath so could start there, but this seems a ally specialised issue perhaps requiring a very specialised practitioner, and I thought maybe someone here could suggest what route we should go down....

Thanks for any advice!

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I see a physio-she specialises in hypermobility and says very few practitioners understand it, but her one word of warning was- do see physios for this not osteopaths-and try to find someone experienced who has dealt with it before-I pass it on, for what it is worth, not being an expert myself.

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Feedback from one of the JA teachers for one of my students was that she needed to focus on the metatarsal strengthening exercises specifically for jumps and allegro work. She has lovely banana feet, but kept getting knots in her feet. She's been using the spiky massage balls to release the tension in her feet and doing lots of different foot exercises to strengthen her feet.

 

Is the floor he's working on suitably sprung? I bought some foot cushion things it's a gel pad that hooks round the toe and they've really helped.

 

I think strengthening is always a good call with hyper mobility. I'm sure drdance can help slightly more!

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My ds has such hyper mobile feet that they actually delayed him being able to walk until he had treatment. He is not a dancer but has the most amazing feet now but does have to wear orthotics in all shoes.

You might find your ds needs to consult a physio and a podiatrist to get the full range of treatment and advice. The exercises with the theraband might not be strengthening the correct part of the foot for the jumps he does.

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It might be helpful if he analyses his technique carefully.  A pointed foot should have long stretched toes.  Landing from a jump, the first contact should be the pads of the toes (equivalent to where your finger prints are on your fingers) and then the strength of the toes resists so that the foot rolls down smoothly through the demi-pointe and sole of the foot until the heel is placed and continues down into the demi plié.

 

If the toes are at all curled in the pointed foot, to avoid landing on the joints of the toes, they will relax instinctively and it will be a "crash landing" onto the balls and soles of the feet, maybe even bruising the heel.

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Knowing how beautiful CeliB yr DS technique is it sounds like he needs to keep building the foot muscles. There may be some ideas in 'The Dancers Foot Book'. Also some of the Advanced Progressive Ballet a Technique work incl the foot exs wld really help him. (You can buy the DVD) Marie Walton Mahon the creator is really really helpful (and also H Lee's old teacher who has those gorgeous banana feet too!) you can contact her direct on Facebook. I'm sure she will have some constructive suggestions. ????

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I have hyper mobile feet and it did delay me walking and when I was little I couldn't even jump down from things because it felt like I was crushing and breaking my feet when I landed as I was in so much pain. However it doesn't hurt as much now. I think that could have been after starting pointe work and the pre-pointe exercises as I think that strengthened my feet up a lot. When I was younger I did see a podiatrists as my ankles rolled in lots but in my opinion the podiatrist didn't do that much, only making me wear expensive orthotics which I didn't think benefited me.

With the foot support personally I'm not sure because a friend who used to go to gymnastics wore a ankle support and it actually made the ankle worse in the long run as it weakened it lots.

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My dd is hyper mobile and feet were a "bag of bones" described by podiatrist. She's been wearing orthotics in all her shoes and has started to see a difference.

 

Hope you can find things for you ds to do but what's worked for dd so far is working on intrinsic muscles. She's been doing exercises such as piano feet where she moves each toe one at a tine, a scrunching and stretching movement with a tea towel on the floor, rolling out feet not just with ball but with rolling pin too.

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Wearing the gel pad over the sole can be good as an "emergency" solution if feet are very sore but has to dance...especially for a show etc...but obviously looking at technique when jumping with a physio trained in Dance would be ideal.

The Rambert school near Waterloo has such a person .....though don't know what the charge is!!

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My dd is hyper mobile and feet were a "bag of bones" described by podiatrist. She's been wearing orthotics in all her shoes and has started to see a difference.

 

Hope you can find things for you ds to do but what's worked for dd so far is working on intrinsic muscles. She's been doing exercises such as piano feet where she moves each toe one at a tine, a scrunching and stretching movement with a tea towel on the floor, rolling out feet not just with ball but with rolling pin too.

was it the podiatrist who gave her the exercises annaliesey? this sounds very similar to how DS describes his problem so those sound like perfect exercises...

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was it the podiatrist who gave her the exercises annaliesey? this sounds very similar to how DS describes his problem so those sound like perfect exercises...

My dd and ds have been given these exercises at various times by podiatrists, NHS physio and then in dd case a dance physio and teachers. Ds was given a simple variety of them about 17 years ago aged 3 to help him weight bear to learn to walk. Since then they have been adapted slightly but are the same core exercises. They are also in a book dd has, I'm not at home so can't check title at mo.

A good podiatrist and physio should start assessing you as you walk in from the waiting room to the treatment room. For jumps a physio will probably want to see him jump until he tires to see how the mechanics change of him launching and landing.

Having seen the podiatrist associated with a ballet company for a number of years we hit a crisis in the summer holidays and had to book an appointment locally, dd was very anxious about it and expecting him to recoile in horror and give her a lecture about pointe. Instead, by luck, we found a gem of a podiatrist who had worked with dancers abroad, was full of useful advice and she would happily go back to again. We were lucky but is it worth contacting the podiatry register and enquiring if anyone has listed an interest in dance that is within easy reach?

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Hi CeliB

 

the podiatrist only gave a couple of exercises as examples of what she could do to build strength in intrinsic muscles rather than actually prescribe set exercises and frequency. She took the time to explain what the problem was and various things that helped different parts of the feet and dd has come up with her own routine for stretching feet out after dancing and with her dance teacher based on the muscles the podiatrist said to work on.

 

She also has one foot more flexible than the other so she works that one a bit more.

 

She also loves wearing Nike studio wraps and says these support her dancing feet when not dancing on pointe (ballet, modern, tap and her podiatrist really liked tgese too.

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