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Hi all, I'm a ballet teacher and literally in the last couple of weeks have discovered my left foot has a bunion. I believe this is a combination of some poor dance teaching I received when younger, as well as the fact that my left foot is bigger than my right so I (foolishly) jammed it into a shoe too small for it because my right foot fit it fine.

 

My question is, how is this going to affect my teaching? I'm worried if I can't demonstrate properly, I won't be as successful as dance teacher as I would like. Is it going to get so bad I can't dance at all? Will I not be able to teach? Should I not go on pointe anymore? What can I do to prevent it getting worse?

 

I have read that bunions are specific to a foot type and as such are prone to them regardless of what you do. Also that it's not "if" they get worse, but when.

 

It's not bad enough for my GP to want to do anything about and I can't afford a dance physio.

 

Any advice would be so gratefully received! I am worried!

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Me too but I'm not relying on my feet for my career at least :-( They run in families and are linked to foot shape and hypermobility as well as poorly firing shoes (I have to wear 'sensible' shoes for another foot condition but they run in my family). I would recommend you see a chiropodist or podiatrist, they can advise various appliances to wear to prevent deterioration. Your gp may be able to refer you to a podiatrist because of your career, definitely worth asking. I do know a couple of people who have had surgery and one of them didn't look like hers were very big at all so don't presume your gp will not do anything especially if they're causing pain.

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I have a 16yo dd who is training professionally and has had a bunion since forever. And no one - not the teachers not the GP or her physio's are concerned. Whats important is to prevent it from getting worse. For my dd this means spacers and proper footwear. Speak to a podiatrist to find the best solution. Surgery is horrifically painful and is always a last resort.

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Miss.pointe - I don't suppose you've changed the style of your shoes recently, have you?

 

My dd suddenly started to develop a bunion after wearing a different make of demi-pointe shoes for a few weeks. We threw them away, she went back to her old ones, and the bunion disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.

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My bunions are very bad.....from too early pointe work when young but they don't stop me doing ballet except I don't do pointe work any more and always wear good fitting shoes.

Surgery is not always very successful so unless very painful leave till after career I would say but seek advice first of course

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My DD has very wide feet (runs in the family- am just glad DS doesn't have to wear pointe shoes) and when she was fitted for her pointe shoes (a process that took well over an hour) the fitter gave her spacers as she said this was essential to ensure her big toes maintained correct alignment, otherwise if the big toes push across towards the little toes she would get bunions. Whether wearing spacers after bunions have already developed can help I don't know...I would have though that the GP could refer to a podiatrist even if not severe at the moment in view of your profession.....perhaps you need to be a bit more forceful?!...

 

BTW my grandmother had terrible bunions but lived in an era where 'ladies' wore pointy shoes with heels at all times- I have the family broad feet (eg all have either G or H fitting at clarks) but have never worn anything but flats which are wide at the toe (clearly I am not a 'lady'!) and have never had so much as a hint of a bunion...

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My DD started to develop bunions in Year 8, so I purchased bunion correctors from Betterware which she slept in each night and she also started to wear gel spacers between her big toe and next toe, to stop her big toe turning in when she was on pointe.  Thankfully this method worked and she did not develop bunions.  Here is a link to the bunion correctors, but not sure how they will work on an adult, because the bones are not as soft as a teenager.  Hope this helps LTD

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Betterware-Bunion-Corrector-Pair/dp/B006UCWX6G

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Hi all, I'm a ballet teacher and literally in the last couple of weeks have discovered my left foot has a bunion. I believe this is a combination of some poor dance teaching I received when younger, as well as the fact that my left foot is bigger than my right so I (foolishly) jammed it into a shoe too small for it because my right foot fit it fine.

 

My question is, how is this going to affect my teaching? I'm worried if I can't demonstrate properly, I won't be as successful as dance teacher as I would like. Is it going to get so bad I can't dance at all? Will I not be able to teach? Should I not go on pointe anymore? What can I do to prevent it getting worse?

 

I have read that bunions are specific to a foot type and as such are prone to them regardless of what you do. Also that it's not "if" they get worse, but when.

 

It's not bad enough for my GP to want to do anything about and I can't afford a dance physio.

 

Any advice would be so gratefully received! I am worried!

Firstly, I am told that lots of pro dancers have bunions so don't panic and think you can't go en pointe any more. If the bunion is (or becomes) painful, then any good physio should be able to help ease the inflammation by using ultrasound. You can ice the joint, apply anti-inflammatory cool gel or ibuprofen gel, try wearing gel toe separators/spacers, and ensure that all your shoes fit well.

 

You should also ask your GP for a referral to a podiatrist and/or orthotics team as you may need orthotics if you have hypermobile feet. Pronating can cause bunions to form as a result of incorrect loading.

 

Definitely go back to your GP to ask for a referral, seek advice from a physio, and don't panic! :-)

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Yes I think things have moved on a lot since I was on pointe in the 1950's as a ten year old!! When did these spacers come in...certainly never got any advice then and I have wide feet too...too wide for Freeds...have to buy men's shoes if buying from them and my pointe shoes when young were always Freeds so were probably too narrow for me but as I don't consider myself to have a particularly good arch I'm sure Inhavent got hyper mobile feet....more like hyper mobile ankles!! Perhaps in the 1950's if you got to the Royal Ballet School or similar you were given all this helpful advice even then but we certainly never received any.

Once bunions have grown beyond a certain angle spacers won't help to actually correct...only surgery which can be very painful anyway and by no means successful. However I wish I had been given some of the above advice and may have been able to avoid them...I really think the fitting of pointe shoes has improved since my day. I think you are right Taxi4ballet in that maybe very early bunions can be reversed but not once are too severe. My mum was an ingenue compared to some of today's ballet parents who on this site at any rate seem to be very knowledgeable about feet!! and had no idea it may have been ballet which was causing the prob. I suppose I could also have a genetic propensity towards this development as well so with the pointe work a double dose so to speak!

But to the person who started the post it looks like you will be okay even to do pointe work if your bunion is fairly recent.....getting the right fitting shoes will be most important. I still did pointe work when in my twenties and thirties with my bunions though!! But always liked softer shoes because of this so was probably doing more damage to my feet then!!

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I don't know if my advice is appropriate because I'm in my sixties so much older than you but I developed a bunion quite early as a result of a bone disease in my teens.  For years I put up with it because my GP told me surgery would only increase the pain.  Finally I decided to forget about looking good and switched to flat 'sensible' shoes.  I also saw a physio about knee pain and the diagnosis was pronation.  She recommended slimline ortho inserts.  Result: no pain and the bunion seems actually to have diminished. I can walk much better now though I still have the odd pang for heels.  Sometimes the low-tech solutions are the best.

 

I do hope you find a solution that allows you to continue with teaching.

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My question is, how is this going to affect my teaching? I'm worried if I can't demonstrate properly, I won't be as successful as dance teacher as I would like. Is it going to get so bad I can't dance at all? Will I not be able to teach? Should I not go on pointe anymore? What can I do to prevent it getting worse?

 

Well, I dare say that if Alina Cojocaru has lived with one for years being successful or not is probably not going to be a major issue.

 

Good luck, anyway.

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Thanks everyone - I only just came back and saw all these replies as we had a busy week with the family!

 

I researched a bit online about some stretches and strengthening exercises and they actually seem to have helped already. I will go back to my GP and ask if the bunion has developed yet or is just starting, as I didn't ask him to specify as I thought you either had it or not.

 

I'm beginning to think more and more that my foot has been like this for a while without me noticing it or really being bothered by it. I have NO IDEA why I suddenly noticed it, ha! Odder still is I didn't even know WHAT a bunion was until looking into it this last week or so. I thought it was more a swelling than bones being shifted out of place. I have always had the odd the twinge and redness on my big toe joint which I put down to my foot being bigger on the left side or wearing ballet flats where the rim (if you know what I mean) was RIGHT on the joint instead of comfortably above it. This would mean I've had this bunion literally since I was a mid-teenager (I'm now late twenties) and it hasn't gotten any worse so maybe there is hope it won't develop too much.

 

As for pain, I feel more of an ache in my arch and in my second and third toes for some reason, and sometimes a little in the big toe joint. Again, I'm not sure if I am feeling it more now that I'm aware of it. It's really not bad pain at all.

 

Someone asked if I had changed shoes/styles recently - I have been wearing only flat shoes as I have been pregnant. I wore high heels to a wedding for the first time a couple of weeks back and for some reason I took a good look at my feet after wearing and I think that must be when I noticed I had what appeared to be a bunion.

 

Anyway, I fear I am rambling - thank you so much for everyone's support and thoughts :)

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A bunion can also occur involving the little toe.  In addition to all the reasons mentioned above for a bunion - either big toe and/or little toe, you might also think about how the foot is used in balance and placement.

 

Ideally the majority of the weight is placed on the first three toes with the little toe still in contact with the floor. If too much weight is placed on the big toe this can either initiate or exacerbate a bunion.  But the same can occur the other way - too much weight on the little toe - and it, too, can become a bunion problem. 

 

Every once in a while - when you are standing -  like in a line for shopping etc., pay attention to how your weight is placed on your feet.  You might find your foot leaning to one of the other side.  Also, when you step out into an arabesque on demi-pointe - where is the majority of  your weight on that demi-pointe?

 

Another thing to check....when you are standing with one foot in tendue - either front, side or back - where is the weight on the supporting foot?   And is there any weight on the tendue foot?  You can readily see that if there is any weight on the tendue foot this would impact onset or exacerbation of a bunion condition.  This is especially true - and is more likely to occur in tendue derriérre.

 

Just as weight placement can be a factor in the onset of a bunion - it can also be a result of a bunion and make the condition worse.  Like a bad circle of events. 

 

There are, of course, people with fairly severe bunions who have never danced and never been on demi-pointe.  However, as a dancer, the condition can certainly affect the use of the foot - through pain, and an impact on the sureness of balance. 

 

In the addition to the many good ideas posted in above by others - keep a careful watch on how you are using the foot - both in dance and everyday activities. 

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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Your pregnancy could be a factor too. The hormone relaxin is increased in pregnancy and this "softens" ligaments allowing joints to be more flexible than normal. It's to do with the joints in the pelvis needing to be more mobile than usual, to make it easier for baby to get out, but it does affect other joints too. This effect can last for a while after pregnancy, especially if you are breastfeeding.

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Another thing to check....when you are standing with one foot in tendue - either front, side or back - where is the weight on the supporting foot?   And is there any weight on the tendue foot?  You can readily see that if there is any weight on the tendue foot this would impact onset or exacerbation of a bunion condition.  This is especially true - and is more likely to occur in tendue derriérre.

 

Thanks Anjuli (and everyone!)

 

Something I have DEFINITELY noticed is a lot of workout DVDs I have done (I do them for strength and variety) include a sort of tapping movement of the foot - almost like a battement pique except there's no turnout so you are basically tapping the big toe and bending it laterally against the joint. I've always tried not to put weight on this but I'm sure now the repetitive movement is enough to do some damage.

 

Thank you everyone - feel much more confident that nobody has said "oh my god, retire now!" :)

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Thank you, Fiz! I left him with his dad for my first ballet class teaching since having him last week and he cried for 40 minutes! He hates bottles! Hoping tomorrow's class will be better!

Gosh! Are you already back a work?

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Perhaps you could take him along to class the music may soothe him!! And he would hear your voice at least though I think it's brilliant dads have a go on their own quite soon too.

BUT you must be super fit to be back at work this quickly!!

 

A pianist we used to have when I was doing ballet when younger used to bring in her little dog every week.....not quite the same as anew born baby I know but he was very well behaved and seemed to sleep most of the time. At the end he would get up,and have a shake and we would go over and say hallo. We missed him if he wasn't there for some reason!!

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Oh, poor baby, poor dad and poor you!  :(

I felt absolutely terrible! But this Tuesday went much better thankfully - I think he is just used to being with me all the time so it's not all that bad for him to find comfort with his dad who normally just "rough and tumbles" with him. Also trying different bottles/teats/etc to get him on that bottle!

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Perhaps you could take him along to class the music may soothe him!! And he would hear your voice at least though I think it's brilliant dads have a go on their own quite soon too.

BUT you must be super fit to be back at work this quickly!!

 

A pianist we used to have when I was doing ballet when younger used to bring in her little dog every week.....not quite the same as anew born baby I know but he was very well behaved and seemed to sleep most of the time. At the end he would get up,and have a shake and we would go over and say hallo. We missed him if he wasn't there for some reason!!

You're not the first person to suggest that and I am actually going to try it at a community class I'm starting - I'm having a friend and experienced mum/grandma come along to join in the class and if he starts crying to take him out and soothe him.

 

I exercised (not ballet) all through my pregnancy and thankfully didn't have major complications after delivery so I was easing back into exercise after 6 weeks. It is quite early I suppose but I am only teaching max. 3 classes a week, either adult beginners or preschool so not too demanding, and I want to build up the teaching so I don't have to go back to the day job when maternity leave ends and can teach dance part time and part time be at home with little man.

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  • 2 months later...
  • In the early stages of bunion formation, soak feet in warm water
  • Wear properly fitted shoes
  • Wear bunion shields or bandages to limit progression and pain
  • Choose shoes with a high, wide toe box
  • Add arch supports to your shoes
  • Wear rocker soled shoes to relieve pressure
  • Wear night splints
  • If left untreated, surgery may be necessary

Bunions are a very common condition that affects women significantly more than men due to poorly fitted footwear.

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