The Importance of the Foot to Ballet Dancers

Ballet can be brutal on the foot. The foot during ballet dancing is placed under so much stress. The demands taht a dancer put on their feet are very high. At the professional level these demands can be up to 8 or so hours a day and all that is done in flimsy unsupportive footwear. The research evidence is that ballet dancers have more foot problems than the general population. Most professional dancers will have their foot care routines that they do to strengthen the foot muscles and care for their feet and toenails. It takes a many years to do well in ballet and the last thing that they want to happen is for something to go wrong because of a foot problem.

In an episode of the podiatry related chat chow, PodChatLive, they had a detailed look at the foot issues in ballet and the demands place on the foot. The two guests that the hosts interviewed were Sarah Carter and Catherine Crabb are both lecturers in Podiatry at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Prior to their podiatry careers both were dancers at a very high level so this combined experiences and expertise in both podiatry and dancing meant that they were both well placed to talk about this topic. They touched on whether the common issue of hypermobility is necessary to be a dancer and their answer might have surprised a lot of peopke. They talked about the most common injuries seen in dances and as 85% of ballet injuries are in the lower leg, it certainly shows the relevance of podiatry. They also compared the differences between male and female dancers and the different injuries seen. They also discussed the importance of the ballet shoe and the crazy things dancers do to them, and the need for a proper ‘pointe assessment’ and what it may entail.