Ballet is a dance form which involves many movements of the body. These movements are done in a rhythmic manner. There are several factors that affect how well your feet move during ballet dancing. These include:
The type of shoes worn (soled or flat)
Your foot size and shape (round, square, etc.)
How much weight you put on your feet while dancing (weight bearing vs. support)
Foot Size & Shape Ballet dancer’s feet tend to have different shapes than those of non-dancers. Ballet dancers’ feet tend to be rounder than non-dancers’.
However, it is not just the shape of the dancer’s feet that affects how well they move. The way you wear your shoes also plays a role in how well your feet move. If you wear heels, then your toes will naturally curve inward. This means that when you walk around with heels on, your toes will naturally curl inward as well. While this can make wearing high heels more comfortable, it can also lead to more foot problems in the long run.
Bunions A bunion is a medical condition involving the enlargement of bone or tissue around the big toe. This causes the big toe to turn inward toward the other toes.
This condition is usually due to genetics, however wearing narrow or small shoes can also cause bunions. Wearing high heels may contribute to bunion development. Even if you do not wear high heels, someone with limited flexibility in their feet may experience bunion pain as the foot naturally curls in to accommodate the shoe. This means that people with bunions should wear shoes with ample width and length. Wearing high heels can worsen this condition causing more irritation and pain.
Blisters Blisters are a minor cut on your foot, which can develop into a painful mass of tissue if not cared for properly. Blisters are caused by friction or rubbing of one’s skin against the inside of a shoe.
This can be due to a shoe that does not fit properly, and/or socks that are too tight or not meant to handle the friction. In addition, if a shoe is new, it may rub your foot in such a way that a blister will form. One blister usually does not lead to another unless the initial blister is not cared for properly. If you do not keep the blister clean and covered properly, then it may lead to another blister forming.
Toenail Problems Common foot problems for ballerinas involve their toenails. Long, pointy toenails are a common issue for ballerinas.
In addition, ingrown toenails can also be an issue. Toenails keep growing after a dancer has stopped dancing for the day. This can cause the toenails to become ingrown. If feet are not properly cared for and shoes are not changed regularly, this can also lead to an ingrown toenail. In addition, pointy toenails can also lead to other issues such as blisters or skin lesions. Long, unkempt toenails can also get caught in the fabric of a shoe or sock causing pain and physical damage.
Calluses & Corns Calluses and corns are both caused by excessive friction on a single spot of one’s foot. A callus is a thickening of the skin due to excess friction, while a corn is a bone that has grown abnormally due to the pressure of a shoe or other item.
The main issue with calluses and corns, is that as the skin thickens or the bone grows, it causes more pain in that area of the foot. In addition, if these issues are not cared for and left without treatment, it can lead to the skin breaking or tearing causing further medical problems.
Diabetes According to the American Diabetes Association, there are over 25 million diabetics in the United States and over 347 million people worldwide with diabetes. This disease affects the way the body metabolizes sugar.
It also causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. A diabetic may have symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination and unexplained weight loss or gain.
Other major complications related to diabetes are heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, eye issues and nerve damage. If you suspect that you might have diabetes, consult your physician immediately.
Prevention The best way to prevent foot problems is to practice good hygiene and to see your podiatrist for regular checkups. In order to treat an issue on your feet before it becomes a major problem, it is important to see a podiatrist twice a year.
Your podiatrist will check your feet for any cuts or broken skin, swollen joints, ingrown toenails or other issues.
Good hygiene includes using soap and water to clean the bottom of your feet daily. This can prevent bacteria from developing and leading to infection.
It is also important to keep your toenails trimmed and filed so that they do not become ingrown. If you have certain issues with your feet such as a corn or callus, it is important to see a podiatrist in order to prevent these issues from becoming infected. The podiatrist can trim the corn or callus in order to prevent it from becoming painful or infected. In addition, a podiatrist can prescribe medications to help alleviate pain or infection.
In order to protect your feet from shoes that cause specific problems such as ingrown toenails or corns and calluses, it is important to see a pedorthist or shoe-fit specialist. A pedorthist is a foot care professional who specializes in making custom orthotics or shoes that fit properly.
A shoe-fit specialist is a person who works in a shoe store and is trained to fit shoes properly. Both of these professionals can help relieve problems with shoes such as blisters, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. In addition, they can ensure that you are wearing the proper footwear for your feet.
If you do not have a podiatrist in your area, see your family physician for medical help with your feet. Your physician may have podiatric training or know of a podiatrist in the area.
In addition, your physician can prescribe medication to help alleviate pain or infection.
There are several different types of ladders you can purchase at home improvement or discount stores. Before purchasing a ladder, be sure to check the packaging for any additional tools or equipment you may need in order to properly anchor the ladder.
In addition, your ladder should be set at the proper angle (usually between 23-25 degrees) in order to prevent slipping as you climb the ladder. Always make sure that your ladder has the appropriate base and is level on all sides before climbing.
When using a ladder, make sure that the top of the ladder (the part you step on) is lower that the item you are trying to reach. This helps prevent you from falling backwards.
After reaching the top of the ladder, do not over extend and stretch in order to reach your hand or foot to the item you need to obtain. Instead, take a step back down and move the ladder to give you more distance.
Always be sure that your ladder has the appropriate base and is level on all sides before climbing. Ladders that lean to either side are more likely to fall over as you climb.
In addition, spread your weight out over the ladder by standing on the narrow portion (or rung) and not by hanging over the sides. This also helps prevent the ladder from falling as you climb it.
When moving a ladder, do not pick it up by the top platform. Always grip the base.
As you move the ladder, make sure that you move it from one level to another without breaks. If you need to reposition the ladder, do so from a higher position rather than a lower position. For example, if you need to move the ladder from the second floor to the ground floor, move it from the second floor instead of below it.
Make sure that the ladder you buy is designed to accommodate your weight and size. Always purchase a ladder that has open metal rungs or steps and not ones with holes drilled into them to prevent slipping through.
Make sure that screws or bolts are tight before using the ladder.
Always use your judgment and common sense when using any type of ladder. If the ladder feels unsafe, do not use it.
Do not use a ladder in high winds or other dangerous conditions.
If you are over 6′, you need to use a stepladder instead of a stepladder for increased reach. You can also stand on an end of the step ladder if you need extra height.
Even though it is not as stable, it is better than using your body to try to reach something.
Always have someone else hold the ladder for you when using a ladder outdoors. This will prevent the ladder from slipping away and causing injury.
Make sure that you buy your ladder based on your height and not based on someone else’s height. You do not want to end up with a ladder that is too short for you.
It is better to have one that is longer than one that is too short.
Never use a ladder in the rain or snow. Wait for the ground or the surface to dry off before using a ladder.
Place the ladder on a smooth, hard surface. You do not want any type of movement (such as sand or gravel) to cause the ladder from slipping away or shifting.
Do not try to place a ladder on an unstable surface such as a mound of sand or loose soil. You also do not want to use a ladder on soft ground such as wet grass.
Place the ladder on a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete.
Never try to repair a faulty or damaged ladder. Throw it away and buy a new one.
If you have to carry the ladder, never carry it by the top platform. Always carry it by the base.
When using any type of ladder, always make sure that the area is clear of any objects that may cause you to trip or fall. For example, if you are using a step ladder to change a light bulb in a ceiling, be sure that the floor area around the ladder is clear of any tools, toys, or other objects.
Always be sure that the top of the ladder (whether it is open or closed) never extends more than one above the surface that you are climbing onto.
Sources & references used in this article:
Proprioception of foot and ankle complex in young regular practitioners of ice hockey, ballet dancing and running by JX Li, DQ Xu, B Hoshizaki – Research in Sports Medicine, 2009 – Taylor & Francis
Effect of footwear on dancers: a systematic review by A Fong Yan, C Hiller, R Smith… – Journal of Dance …, 2011 – ingentaconnect.com
The effect of textured ballet shoe insoles on ankle proprioception in dancers by N Steinberg, G Waddington, R Adams, J Karin… – Physical therapy in …, 2016 – Elsevier