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Dancingdd

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DD9 is at a new school that's primarily a ballet school but offers most others forms if dance as well. Next year she will get her first pointe shoes (yes they start young but they are only on them a small part of the class). She just performed in her first Nutcracker and is in love with everything dance related.
The other week she came home from ballet and complained her toe hurts. I looked at it and it was in hammer toe shape. She's always had a slight bump of her knuckle and her feet have slight bunion shape to them but never like this! I literally had to stretch it and rub it for 10 minutes to flatten it out a bit. Then I put arnica gel on it. She was fine the next day.
I made an appt for a pediatric podiatrist, who we know personally, for over the winter break.
She's been asking for surgery for a year now until I told her it may not help and it will take a very long time to recover. Not because she was in pain but because she doesn't like the shape of her feet.
I know she can be a great dancer and never go on pointe but this is her dream. Have any of you had to tell your dancer they can't go on pointe? It wouldn't be as big of a deal if she was at a different school that doesn't focus on ballet as much but everyone at her school goes on pointe eventually.
And I was just finally getting settled and very happy at our new school and met friends.
Would I be a good mom if I let her ruin her feet further by allowing her to go on pointe?
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #2 
It sounds like you are trying to make a decision about something with almost no information other than a toe looks weird.  Why not wait to see the podiatrist and then talk to your SO with the information you get from the doctor?  Why the drastic decision making now?
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #3 
Almost anyone who dances on pointe for any length of time pretty much ruins their feet (and hips).  I agree - you are jumping the gun a bit.  She's 9, she's not on pointe yet and you haven't seen the dr. yet.  Gather your information first and then make an educated decision.  Good luck and keep us posted.
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #4 
I know I have to wait but she just came home again from 90 min ballet and said she's in so much pain. Just her big toes from pointing them. [frown]
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #5 
You seem to be jumping the gun. Wait and talk to the doctor. Don't even attempt to get medical advice from strangers on the Internet. We don't know what your dancer's feet look like, we aren't doctors and it doesn't sound like anyone has even suggested up your DD that she'll never be able to do pointe.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #6 
My mother always says "don't borrow trouble".  Wait and see what the Dr. says and then figure out your next steps.  I know pointe is most little dancers dream but  it is not the be all end all of dance.  If she can't go en pointe she can still be a beautiful dancer.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #7 
My DD has really messed up feet. They've been that way since birth. Bunions and overlapping toes. Not one professional who has looked at her feet habe thought it would be a problem. She has to wear spacers and has to pay extra attention to how her toes are overlapping when trying them on, but it's not big deal.

She should be focusing on strength and technique and the rest will sort itself out.
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #8 
Do you have any podiatrists in your area that specifically work with dancers? Failing that, any physical therapists? There is so much more to pointe than just the feet. But if she is getting hammertoes, the underlying cause needs to be found first.

When I was younger, I had narrow feet and weak ankles. But no other foot problems that I was aware of.

As I aged, things changed. For many years, I was able to wear shoes in 7.5 or 8 medium. Heaven! Could walk in any shoe store and assuming they had fresh stock, could walk out with whatever I wanted. Those are popular sizes!

But after having a baby and diabetes and some other things, I have hard to fit feet. I can take a 9 wide in some brands but other brands don't fit at all. And then I noticed a huge callous on the left big toe.

Long story short, the podiatrist surmised that shoes were the culprit. It was not the fit but the softness of the inside of the shoes and also my slippers. My feet were sinking down into the squishy insides and in order to keep my feet from sliding around, I was clenching my toes. My left foot is probably a little smaller. I also likely have some other problems from the diabetes or some other malady as I have many medical problems now. And my dad always had hammer toes. 

Thankfully, my toes aren't stuck in that shape. I just have to make sure to be wearing the right shoes and slippers so they don't assume that shape!

As for your daughter, there are many ways to address foot problems for pointe shoes. However... I am not necessarily saying that your daughter's problems can be addressed. But a podiatrist is a starting point. Just try to find one familiar with pointe.

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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancingdd
I know I have to wait but she just came home again from 90 min ballet and said she's in so much pain. Just her big toes from pointing them. [frown]


I am no expert, but it could possibly be that she is trying to pointe harder and better incorrectly.  You do not "point" with your toes, you point with your entire foot.  Look at photos of ballerinas to see how they point, especially if you can find photos of them on flat and not in point shoes.  If you have an Instagram account, there are thousands of photos of girls showing off beautiful feet.  I swear that some kids just aren't taught HOW to point correctly, including the kids at my dd's last comp school. If she's curling her toes, that's incorrect and could easily be causing pain. I see photo after photo of kids in competition with curled toes - it drives me insane that they are not being corrected.   And if that's what she's doing and she has toe problems, it could be making it much worse.  Like I said, I am no expert - just a guess here. Maybe have one of the teachers evaluate how she's pointing??  AND go to the dr. appointment for sure.  I hope she is ok!!  Keep us posted.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancingdd
She's been asking for surgery for a year now until I told her it may not help and it will take a very long time to recover. Not because she was in pain but because she doesn't like the shape of her feet. 


Wait, a 9 year old has been asking for cosmetic foot surgery unrelated to any pain or other structural problems? 


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lovetowatch

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Reply with quote  #11 
Not sure what type of surgery you are considering (and this is separate from telling her she can't go en pointe), but my dd has bunions on both feet and the left was particularly painful in point shoes (constant inflammation in the joint). She wanted bunion surgery and the insurance covered it so I let her have it without doing as much research as I should. She had the surgery in the summer and is still doing physical therapy to try to get mobility in her toe back to close to where it was before. Her ballet teacher has not approved her to go back to pointe yet and if she doesn't get more mobility back she may never because right now she is unbalanced (lots of mobility on one foot but not the other.) She also has a very prominent scar so the overall appearance of her foot is not improved in my opinion. I wish that we had not done the surgery since the pain before was manageable with icing her feet and taking Aleve. She hated the icing and I think was looking for an "easy way out".
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13


I am no expert, but it could possibly be that she is trying to pointe harder and better incorrectly.  You do not "point" with your toes, you point with your entire foot.  Look at photos of ballerinas to see how they point, especially if you can find photos of them on flat and not in point shoes.  If you have an Instagram account, there are thousands of photos of girls showing off beautiful feet.  I swear that some kids just aren't taught HOW to point correctly, including the kids at my dd's last comp school. If she's curling her toes, that's incorrect and could easily be causing pain. I see photo after photo of kids in competition with curled toes - it drives me insane that they are not being corrected.   And if that's what she's doing and she has toe problems, it could be making it much worse.  Like I said, I am no expert - just a guess here. Maybe have one of the teachers evaluate how she's pointing??  AND go to the dr. appointment for sure.  I hope she is ok!!  Keep us posted.


Until I read this, I figured i must be wrong and nuts.  It's becoming such a "thing" at our local competitions for kids to have curled toes when they're pointing their feet!  And you're right - I see it all over instagram and comments are in the thousands about how gorgeous that person's feet are.  I'm ready to claw my eyes out!  It's so opposite to what DD learned at her first studio, which had a very strong ballet program. She would never THINK to curl her toes.  So who's right?  
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpmom


Until I read this, I figured i must be wrong and nuts.  It's becoming such a "thing" at our local competitions for kids to have curled toes when they're pointing their feet!  And you're right - I see it all over instagram and comments are in the thousands about how gorgeous that person's feet are.  I'm ready to claw my eyes out!  It's so opposite to what DD learned at her first studio, which had a very strong ballet program. She would never THINK to curl her toes.  So who's right?  


If you want to be a ballerina  - I'm right!!!!!!!!!![biggrin]  Curling toes are hideous and you cannot do that in pointe shoes - it's not physically possible to be on pointe and curl your toes without much pain.  It's a sign of weak feet and trying to cheat. 
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #14 
For a perfect example of how to point, watch this video. You will not see curled toes.  I think, arguably, Gisele Bethea has the most beautiful feet of any of the young professional dancers.  This video is from years ago - her feet are even better now.  If you don't want to watch the whole thing, skip to 1:47.

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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13
For a perfect example of how to point, watch this video. You will not see curled toes.  I think, arguably, Gisele Bethea has the most beautiful feet of any of the young professional dancers.  This video is from years ago - her feet are even better now.  If you don't want to watch the whole thing, skip to 1:47.



Yowza! What I LOVE about this is that her feet aren't just one unit - they move as if they're alive from heel to toe.  Just beautiful.  Thank you for sharing!

This past season we competed against a ballet school.  I was watching the senior ballet solo division and there was a dancer with feet just like that.  I was absolutely enthralled watching her.  There were 4 others against her (all studio-mates).  They too were good, but their feet were not like this particular dancer.  She was last in the class with a lower level of adjudication than the others and I was floored. Then again, this group of judges went on to make the most bizarre comments throughout the weekend that maybe it wasn't surprising. 


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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #16 
kmpmom - Gisele is in the Corps at ABT. I'm positive she is not 18 yet.  She is amazing.  I will never forget the first time I saw her dance. My dd had just come back from a year of being away at a residential ballet program.  We attended the end of the year show at dd's home ballet studio and there was this little girl (11 I think) with feet that you are only born with.  I never took my eyes off her feet.  The thing about her was, even at that age and in this video (I think she was 13) she absolutely knew how to use her feet as a huge advantage.  Not many kids get that, sometimes ever.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #17 
[rolleyes]Who is the loser that would thumbs down Gisele?  So much class, I can hardly stand it.  Whoever you are, I hope your kid doesn't ever want to be a ballerina.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #18 
Wow. Watching that video makes me want to go tell my DD to just give it up, lol!! Those feet! That control! Beautiful!!
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #19 
Bonbonmama - she is one in a million. I'm pretty sure my dd wanted to give up a few times, training with her for her last 3 years[smile].  It's hard to have someone so young be better than you, year after year, even when you work so hard.  But she is the sweetest, most genuine kid around and I think dd was pushed very hard by just being around her and it has paid off big time.    

Dancingdd - I really do hope you have the teacher check out how your dd is pointing. And I really hope it's nothing serious!
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #20 
Talking about the toes thing. This crossed my Instagram feed the other day and made me cringe. I don't believe he likely does this when he's actually dancing, but this pic... with thousands of likes... was not at all appealing to me. lol

https://instagram.com/p/BNlUbuDg0Kh/
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JojosDanceMom
Talking about the toes thing. This crossed my Instagram feed the other day and made me cringe. I don't believe he likely does this when he's actually dancing, but this pic... with thousands of likes... was not at all appealing to me. lol https://instagram.com/p/BNlUbuDg0Kh/


Eeeeeuuuu and ouch at the same time.  
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mom2dancinboyngirl

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JojosDanceMom
Talking about the toes thing. This crossed my Instagram feed the other day and made me cringe. I don't believe he likely does this when he's actually dancing, but this pic... with thousands of likes... was not at all appealing to me. lol https://instagram.com/p/BNlUbuDg0Kh/


He looks double jointed, but he knows how to control it when dancing (if you check out his profile he has some lovely dance photos). He's also got another one of just his foot from about 7 weeks ago where he bends his foot at a crazy angle like that with his hand... looks painful, but clearly it isn't to him.


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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #23 
Wow,  Gisele is absolutely amazing!!!
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #24 
Thanks so much for all your replies! She is curling her toes to point so I'll have to have a talk with her ballet teacher. Just to be clear, I am not even considering surgery!
I didn't read these replies until now and I feel so much better. I actually had a dream last night that they told her she can't ever do on pointe and she cried and it was so sad.
And that video was gorgeous. Such a talented dancer and I see now how the feet should look.
You guys are awesome!
Now I can worry about something else. [smile]
And I will let you all know what the podiatrist says in a few weeks. Hopefully will get spacers.
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nicknoralove

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancingdd
DD9 is at a new school that's primarily a ballet school but offers most others forms if dance as well. Next year she will get her first pointe shoes (yes they start young but they are only on them a small part of the class). She just performed in her first Nutcracker and is in love with everything dance related. The other week she came home from ballet and complained her toe hurts. I looked at it and it was in hammer toe shape. She's always had a slight bump of her knuckle and her feet have slight bunion shape to them but never like this! I literally had to stretch it and rub it for 10 minutes to flatten it out a bit. Then I put arnica gel on it. She was fine the next day. I made an appt for a pediatric podiatrist, who we know personally, for over the winter break. She's been asking for surgery for a year now until I told her it may not help and it will take a very long time to recover. Not because she was in pain but because she doesn't like the shape of her feet. I know she can be a great dancer and never go on pointe but this is her dream. Have any of you had to tell your dancer they can't go on pointe? It wouldn't be as big of a deal if she was at a different school that doesn't focus on ballet as much but everyone at her school goes on pointe eventually. And I was just finally getting settled and very happy at our new school and met friends. Would I be a good mom if I let her ruin her feet further by allowing her to go on pointe?


I was a dancer and I was in pre point at 10. I ran into an issue with my right leg where it just cramps up horrible when I go into a full point. I was always able to point it fine in regular Jazz, Acro and ballet (we didn't have lyrical and contemp in those days), but I have never been able to fully extend it. It stopped me in my tracks in pointe. I took first year pointe and did one pointe routine but it was full of drama because my right leg constantly cramped up. I quit pointe after that first year. I wish I hadn't! I wish I'd tried more stretch techniques.

I would say don't give up yet. Let her try it and see if she can work through it. The body can work wonders.
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