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DanceForFun

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Ballet Moms,  My DD is on a team that does several styles of dance. This year she got the go ahead to begin pointe. She will not be competing it  as our girls do not compete pointe until they are more experienced. She has had three classes and loves it ,but, her feet hurt so much once she gets home that it is hard for her to get to sleep. They hurt a bit the next morning but seems to wear off later.  I feel so badly that she has phys. ed at school the morning after pointe class. Not easy to run a mile in sore feet. Yikes

Do any of you have any secrets/suggestions for helping sore feet?

Thanks !
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #2 
Does your studio allow ouch pouches? Could that help? Also are the ribbons tied on custom to her needs? Took dd a few pairs to see where she liked them the best.
She said her feet never hurt though. They start really slow, 3-4 months prepping the feet, then she started on barre, only going on pointe for a few mins each class gradually increasing.
Maybe she doesn't have the best fit of shoe?
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #3 
My understanding is that a dancer requires physical attributes (strong flexible feet, good turnout, strong ankles and core) and extensive ballet training to transition to pointe successfully.  If your daughter has all those attributes and has been taking good 90 minute ballet classes several times a week for a couple years, I would 1.) ask her instructor to evaluate her shoes and consider a second fitting and 2.) look into what exactly she's doing in class.  I've seen some scary stuff at different studios that offer pointe to girls who aren't sufficiently prepared or push them into advanced moves as soon as they put their shoes on.

My daughter has experienced very little pain related to pointe work except for some blisters last summer when she was dancing several hours a day on pointe.  She does have access to a large inventory of pointe shoes and a good fitter when selecting her shoes and uses gellow pads.  She was prepared with 3+ good quality ballet classes weekly for a couple years before starting pointe and began with a half hour class after 2 of her weekly classes.  They remained solely at the barre for several months and did very little away from the barre for the first year. 

Best of luck to your daughter!  



 
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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #4 
Having pain that makes it difficult to fall asleep or feet that still hurt the next morning is not the norm, in my experience--at least not when they are doing the minimal pointe work most kids start off with. Dd had a couple blisters the week she first started and then a few more when she increased her pointe work significantly but generally her feet look and feel totally fine. They didn't really even start slow when she began at 10--they did center from class one and none of the girls in that class had any issue.

Has your dd been properly prepared for pointe work with a year or two of at least three 90-min ballet classes weekly? Another thing to consider: is pointe work necessary for her?
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #5 
My dd did not like pointe work. Mostly because it was uncomfortable (but never as painful as you describe). She does not want to be a professional ballerina, so she decided not take pointe the next season. I would definitely look into what is going wrong that is causing your dd that much pain. In the end, if for whatever reason, taking the class is very painful for her, it's a valid question to see if she needs to take pointe to meet her goals.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #6 
How much time is she spending en pointe in each class?

When dd started, she only did a few minutes a day and then built up to more.  I don't think it sounds normal that your dd would be in so much pain she is having trouble getting to sleep at night.  Has she mentioned if other dancers in the class are having some pain issues too?
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Girls
Having pain that makes it difficult to fall asleep or feet that still hurt the next morning is not the norm, in my experience--at least not when they are doing the minimal pointe work most kids start off with. Dd had a couple blisters the week she first started and then a few more when she increased her pointe work significantly but generally her feet look and feel totally fine. They didn't really even start slow when she began at 10--they did center from class one and none of the girls in that class had any issue. Has your dd been properly prepared for pointe work with a year or two of at least three 90-min ballet classes weekly? Another thing to consider: is pointe work necessary for her


They did center from class one???  I don't remember dd getting off the barre for months.  Making sure they were 'safe' in those shoes before throwing them in center and risking an injury.  (eta:  and I hope YOU know I'm not doubting you... I'm just truly curious.)


Which leads me to the OP.... how much time is she spending in her shoes per class and WHAT exactly are they doing???
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #8 
Last studio we were at they put kids in center doing regular choreography the first week (when the entire class started at once, it was worse when a kid came in and he decided they needed pointe shoes right away).  It was terrifying, wobbly ankles and kids not even close to being over their boxes.  I frequently held my breath while watching pointe class.  And there was no long term benefit, if anything it was worse as a lot of the kids didn't learn the proper way to use their shoes.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
Last studio we were at they put kids in center doing regular choreography the first week (when the entire class started at once, it was worse when a kid came in and he decided they needed pointe shoes right away).  It was terrifying, wobbly ankles and kids not even close to being over their boxes.  I frequently held my breath while watching pointe class.  And there was no long term benefit, if anything it was worse as a lot of the kids didn't learn the proper way to use their shoes.



They let us sit up in the nose bleed section at one of dd's Nut auditions back in September and there were far too many dancers looking like they had NO business on pointe trying to do combinations/sections of choreo. It was a little frightening.  

And the scariest part?  From the looks of it they thought they were superstars out there. And they very well may have been at their comp studios.  But someone needs to break the news....those big a$$ trophy from your jazz solo do not make you a prima ballerina.
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DanceForFun

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks so much to all who took time to reply! I knew I could count on my Dance Moms for good advice.  DD has good strength/feet, but, reading these replies I am going to hang out for the whole class next week.  We are not a "ballet studio" so that may be part of the issue here.  She has taken regular ballet for years but only an hour to an hour and a half a week.  Her shoes were custom fitted as were ribbons and elastics.  THe times that I have arrived at the end of class, they have been on barre. A few of the girls (including DD) let go to see if they could balance for a few seconds. Maybe they shouldn't have? I am new to all this. DD is not going to have a future in dance - this is something she loves and does as her "sport". This year she is "Nutcrackering" for the first time but not on pointe.

I am going to speak with studio owner about this ASAP. Thanks again so much everyone! Have a great weekend!
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #11 
Sadly, that is not nearly enough ballet to make a child ready for pointe. That aside, our current SO is very big on feeling little to no pain on pointe. She shouldn't be having pain that keeps her up at night. Maybe a little tenderness or blisters that could be alleviated with an Epsom salt soak. They really should be just doing more than simple excercises at the barre. I don't understand the need that comp studios feel to put their students up with that little ballet per week. The kids don't need to be on pointe ever, it's just a very dangerous practice.
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kr12

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Reply with quote  #12 
The amount of pain your DD is experiencing is abnormal....especially since it is prolonged even after taking her shoes off.  She is not taking enough ballet class to justify pointe work.  It is generally recommended that a student be taking three 1.5hrs of ballet technique a week for a while to be ready for pointe.  If it was my DD, I would take her off pointe and take her to see a podiatrist.  A dancer doesn't really need to take pointe unless they want to pursue ballet as a career.
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dancingpeanut

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Reply with quote  #13 
With only one ballet class, she is not at all prepared to be doing pointe. That is like trying to run a marathon after training for a 5K. The muscles just haven't gotten the foundation work they need for pointe. It's sure to be uncomfortable at first, and maybe some blisters because they don't know how to break in their shoes, but it shouldn't be causing that kind of pain.
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Becca

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Reply with quote  #14 
Three 90 min ballet classes a week for at least a year before beginning pointe work. 

Pointe shoes might be uncomfortable but if fit properly with proper padding should not hurt.

I STRONGLY caution against doing pointe work at a studio where before she was only taking a once a week ballet class.

Does your daughter wish to pursue ballet? If so, get her to a ballet studio ASAP. If not, have her take as many ballet classes as she can but in flats. Save the money on pointe shoes. Seriously it will start to add up.


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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


They did center from class one???  I don't remember dd getting off the barre for months.  Making sure they were 'safe' in those shoes before throwing them in center and risking an injury.  (eta:  and I hope YOU know I'm not doubting you... I'm just truly curious.)


Which leads me to the OP.... how much time is she spending in her shoes per class and WHAT exactly are they doing???


No worries, I will double check with dd when she gets home but I am pretty sure that after one of the first classes she had told me they were in center because I remember feeling surprised (it didn't match up with what I had read about the process). Could it have been only a few minutes of a class? Probably. I just don't remember the specifics as much as I remember being pretty surprised. I also know they were up for the full hour from class one because that was another one of those surprises. I had pictured it being mostly exercises and then maybe 15 minutes spent up at the end, but it wasn't at all. AD did not put up anyone she felt wasn't totally ready. If she saw anything concerning on flat the summer she was considering you, you waited. At least with that group. 

I can't speak to long term foot health, but there were no injuries in terms of safety mishaps with that group.

ETA: I asked DD. She said it was a few classes (she thinks it was the 4th week/4th class) before they did center so I was wrong. She did say that her second year in the pointe 1 class (you do Pointe 1 for two years, but the second year you also add in a higher level pointe class), that teacher (a different one than the year before) did have everyone up in center on day 1 and half of that class was brand new to pointe so maybe I was thinking of that.[confused] Sorry! They were up the whole hour, though.
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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanceForFun
Thanks so much to all who took time to reply! I knew I could count on my Dance Moms for good advice.  DD has good strength/feet, but, reading these replies I am going to hang out for the whole class next week.  We are not a "ballet studio" so that may be part of the issue here.  She has taken regular ballet for years but only an hour to an hour and a half a week.  Her shoes were custom fitted as were ribbons and elastics.  THe times that I have arrived at the end of class, they have been on barre. A few of the girls (including DD) let go to see if they could balance for a few seconds. Maybe they shouldn't have? I am new to all this. DD is not going to have a future in dance - this is something she loves and does as her "sport". This year she is "Nutcrackering" for the first time but not on pointe.


I have to agree with the others. It just isn't enough ballet. A little pain wouldn't be totally abnormal but it's usually more of an unusual feeling rather than actual pain if dd is to be believed.

She needs to listen to her body. It's telling her something isn't right. 


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DanceForFun

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Reply with quote  #17 
Thanks everyone. I'm on it! Appreciate the support/advice.  She loves the class and only a few of them were given the go ahead to do it so I know the SO was paying attention to who was ready and who wasn't but I see the point of 1 -1 1/2 hours a week for 5 years maybe isn't enough. Funny thing is she is doing great other than the sore feet.  I will have her feet checked out as well.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #18 
In the beginning my dd took lots of barr pointe prep.  But then she got a new teacher who didn't know where she was at and had a brutal 2 hour class in pointe.  But the end her feet were bloody and swollen.  She spend the next hour with them soaking in ice water.

Even though that was an anomaly, pointe work hurts in the beginning.  I have never seen one kid come out of class that first week skipping and thinking...well that was like dancing on pillows.  Quite different faces from those little girls grasping those brand new pointe shoes to their chests going in.  It is just something you work with and get used to over time.
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DanceForFun

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Reply with quote  #19 
Thanks. THis is a half hour "pre pointe" class that they take after their regular ballet class.  They are mainly doing exercises and barre though when I have gone in at the tail end to pick up my DD some were off barre for a few seconds if they are able/comfortable. She has only had 3 classes so early days which is why I don't know if it is somewhat normal or not. She loves it and it is later that she complains of sore feet.  I also don't know if she is exaggerating to get out of gym the next day.  I'm going to go to the next class and watch the whole thing and talk to SO.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #20 
Regardless of whether she's exaggerating or not, i would still suggest you think seriously about taking her off pointe. Doing that little ballet leading up to trying pointe work is just not safe. Not just her, anyone taking just one ballet class/wk is not prepared for it.
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #21 
When I danced, I would often get leg cramps that affected my sleep but my feet never hurt. 
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dancemonkey

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Reply with quote  #22 
Hold on..,,take your daughter to an orthopedic doctor. It might not be that she's not ready. It might be Sever's disease. Which is not really a disease. It commonly happens to young athletes and active kids when they have a growth spurt and their bones grow faster then their cartilage. I'd say get it checked out. It happened when my daughter went on pointe for the first time and she was ready. At first she was crushed because she to go in a boot and had to curtail all her dance and go to pt for 6-8 weeks. But it was temporary. So temporary I had forgotten about. She's now 16 and ballet is her best genre. Good luck. BTW she was 11 when she started pointe.
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #23 
Dance mom confession: I let the prestige of pointe blind me. DD was ready, properly fitted and in her first year learned properly from a strong teacher.  She was set to fly.  But she never liked it.  As the years went by, she complained more and more about the pain (only during class and perhaps a few minutes after) and instead of listening I kept taking her to try different types of shoes and eventually had her fit at the National Ballet School (who loved her feet) who put her in Freeds.  But even though her teacher raved about what the shoes did for her, she was in more discomfort than ever and how are you going to move forward if you're in pain and unhappy?  Why did I make her keep going?  This September she took the first two classes of the year and came to me asking if she could quit. I literally felt a moment of "OH NO YOU CAN'T! It's POINTE and you have GORGEOUS feet!!!  You CAN'T quit!!"  And then I got a hold of myself and said what the heck?? When did pointe become the ultimate destination for dancers (at least in my head - not laying that on you guys).

So DD hung up her gorgeously fit and barely used Freeds that showed off her beautiful arches (step back from the edge kmpmom!!!!.....) a few weeks ago and said goodbye to pointe. And she's a happier dancer.  


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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #24 
> It shouldn't hurt, not like what you describe anyway.

> Standing for a few seconds isn't going to cause any real detriment.  Frankly it is probably impossible to stop them from trying, no matter how much you discourage it.

> Not sure who did the fitting, but you might take that with a grain of salt.  Seriously!  I know of one group of girls all excited for their "individual fittings," went to the local dance store ... and all showed up on day 1 with the EXACT SAME SHOE.  Different sizes, yes, and it's possible that for a first shoe there aren't truly a tremendous number of options.  But still, hard to call that an "individual fitting!"  We have a few stores in town, but now drive 3-4 hours to find more capable fitters with a more broad selection of shoes.

> To me, 60-90 minutes of ballet sounds awfully light as a prep for pointe.  I am a fan of the International Association of Dance Medicine & Science.  Some guidelines from one of their papers:

  1. Not before age 12.
  2. If the student is not anatomically sound (e.g., insufficient ankle and foot plantar flexion range of motion; poor lower extremity alignment), do not allow pointe work.
  3. If she is not truly pre-professional, discourage pointe training.
  4. If she has weak trunk and pelvic ("core") muscles or weak legs, delay pointe work (and consider implementing a strengthening program).
  5. If the student is hypermobile in the feet and ankles, delay pointe work (and consider implementing a strengthening program).
  6. If ballet classes are only once a week, discourage pointe training.
  7. If ballet classes are twice a week, and none of the above applies, begin in the fourth year of training.
(From a Resource Paper was written by David S. Weiss, MD, Rachel Anne Rist, MA, and Gayanne Grossman, PT, EdM, under the auspices of the Education and Media Committees of IADMS.)

The above are guidelines, and only from one paper.  I had a dancer go on pointe much younger than 12, after considering training, flexibility, strength, and physical growth.  

One item that is a little counter intuitive - dancers with "great feet" may be hypermobile, therefore possibly actually lack some foot strength (they've not needed to "work" their muscles to achieve a point), and therefore should perhaps delay pointe work.


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DanceMomLaura

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Reply with quote  #25 
My daughter isn't on pointe yet so I have no experience there, however, I wanted to comment on the ballet hours required before beginning pointe.  There is a studio in our area that only offers 1/2 hour classes.  I know two girls who go to this studio who were recently put on pointe.  One is 11, the other is 13/14.  I double checked with the mom and sure enough, they take a 1/2 hour of ballet a week and a 1/2 hour of pointe.  I'm not kidding.  I was floored!!!! 

I shared with this mom that my DD, at age 15, still isn't ready to go on pointe.  My DD does 2.5 hours of ballet a week. 

I was trying to tell her, without "telling her", that maybe her girls aren't ready. She is clueless.  And it's scary!!!

To the OP, even though I don't have experience, I can say that I agree with the others that I would ask the hard questions and perhaps go see a podiatrist to figure out the issue.

Good luck!
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