Doing an online search for the real effects of ballet shoes on the feet will likely bring up some pretty scary images. However, it shouldn’t scare you away from pursuing ballet—it is a beautiful and expressive form of dance that can be very rewarding. If you’re a ballerina or you’re thinking about enrolling your child in ballet classes, learn more about how ballet shoes can affect the feet. You can then take proper steps to protect your feet going forward.
Wearing Ballet Shoes
Ballet shoes are designed for utility, not for the benefit of your feet. They are made of canvas and silk material with lace straps that wrap around the ankles. Each shoe shapes the toes and feet so that they can be trained in a certain formation for dancing. Ballet dancers often have to get on tippy toes at a moment’s notice to keep up with choreography, so their shoes have to support this action, just as sneakers support the quick actions of tennis players.
What Can Ballet Shoes Do to Your Feet?
Podiatrists often treat ballerinas and other dancers who have serious foot problems. Here are a few issues that can develop as a result of wearing ballet shoes:
- Hammertoes (the toes begin to bend forward, and in some cases become stuck in that position).
- Corns, calluses
- Blisters, ulcers, sores and wounds
- Bunions (the bone on the inside of the foot begins to move outward)
- Nail fungus and sometimes loss of toenails
Many ballerinas suffer these foot problems in silence, but the best course of action is to begin seeing a qualified podiatrist early in your career. Ongoing care and foot therapy can help minimize the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet.
Caring for Your Feet as a Ballerina
Treatments are available at the podiatrist’s office that can give your feet relief from the symptoms of dancing and wearing ballet shoes. Ulcers must be drained and disinfected. Hammertoes can be corrected with splints or prescribing orthotic shoes to wear when not dancing. Treatments are also available to eliminate toenail fungus. Another top goal of podiatry for ballerinas is pain management—exercises and medications can help relieve pain.
Getting help from a podiatrist is crucial if you want to reduce the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet. It’s never too late to seek help from a foot professional who understands these issues, so schedule a consultation appointment today.
Find out whether you need to visit a foot doctor for the proper care you deserve.
What is a podiatrist? A podiatrist is a doctor that specializes in the prevention, detection and treatment of conditions that affect the feet, ankles and lower legs. Our Ashburn, Fairfax, Reston and McLean, VA, podiatrists are here to treat patients of all ages, from young children dealing with flat feet to senior citizens suffering from nerve damage. Our goal is to improve a person’s quality of life and to make it easier to move around and stay active.
Whether you are dealing with serious issues or something more minor, we always have options for how to treat and manage your symptoms. Common ailments that we can help with include:
- Fungal nail infection
- Ingrown toenails
- Calluses and corns
- Flat feet
- Cracked feet
- Heel or foot pain
- Athlete’s foot
- Sports-related injuries
If you are dealing with pain or any of the issues above this is when you should visit our foot doctors who serve Ashburn, Fairfax, Reston and McLean, VA, so that no one has to go without the medical attention they need.
And even if your feet feel great it’s never a bad idea to consider coming in for a single visit to have feet cared for or to potentially detect something that could become an issue later on. Sometimes structural imbalances in the foot don’t initially cause symptoms. By being able to provide orthotics or recommend proper footwear we can prevent issues from happening.
If you have diabetes then you probably also know the importance of foot health. Even the smallest blister or wound could lead to serious complications. To prevent problems you’ll want to visit us regularly. We can make sure to treat small cuts, blisters and wounds and also properly trim toenails to prevent ingrown toenails.
If you are looking for foot care in Ashburn/Leesburg, Fairfax/Burke, Reston/Herndon or McLean/Great Falls, VA, then look no further than Family Foot and Ankle Center.
Call us at (703) 723-9267 (Ashburn), (703) 273-9818 (Fairfax), (703) 556-8637 (McLean) or (703) 723-2719 (Reston).
One common foot issue that often prompts patients to visit the podiatrist is hammertoe. Hammertoe is a foot condition that is not only painful, but also embarrassing for patients who want to wear certain types of shoes and show off their feet. Learn more about what causes hammertoe and how it can be resolved at your podiatrist’s office.
What Is a Hammertoe?
The muscles of your toe help keep it in proper alignment so that it lies straight, the same way that your fingers look when you lay them out on a table. But in some cases, the joints in the toe become weakened, causing the top end of the toe to bend forward. This is called hammertoe—it usually happens to one or all of the middle three toes of the foot. In some cases the hammertoe is flexible, meaning that the toe can be manually bent back up into position, but in other cases it is rigid and can’t be adjusted. Hammertoe makes it difficult or even impossible to comfortably wear and walk in everyday shoes.
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is most commonly caused by wearing bad shoes for extended periods of time. It is a problem often found in women because they like to wear attractive high heels that do unfortunate things to their feet. The design of many high heeled shoes causes the feet and toes to push up against the rigid front and bend them into the shape of a hammertoe. In some cases, people are more prone to hammertoe due to genetics or because of medical condition, like diabetes.
Treatments for Hammertoe
The treatment plan of choice for hammertoe is a combination of foot exercises, physical therapy and custommade orthotic shoes or inserts. Placing a splint on the affected toe can also help it heal back into its correct position. If the area is painful, your podiatrist may also administer cortisone injections. In the case of rigid hammertoe, where you lose the ability to move the toe up or down, surgery may be necessary to fix the joint.
Hammertoe is an embarrassing foot problem, but the good news is that it can be corrected or relieved in most cases. It is best treated when you catch it in its early stages, so make an appointment with your podiatrist at the first signs of a bending toe.
Patients who have uncontrolled diabetic symptoms and infections that affect the feet sometimes have to face the possibility of living with a missing toe. There are preventative therapies available to heal the feet before this happens, but in some unfortunate cases amputation of a toe is necessary. Here are some tips from podiatrists for how to adapt to a missing toe and still live a normal, active life.
Reasons for Missing Toes
One of the most common causes for complications related to the feet and toes is uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetic symptoms can cause foot ulcers, which are wounds that can become seriously infected and lead to the need for amputation of toes. Diabetes can also cause poor circulation, which starves the toes of the blood and oxygen needed to keep them healthy. The other common reason for a missing toe is a serious injury, such as a very heavy object falling on the foot.
Adapting to the Loss of a Toe
It’s true that you need your toes for balance and stability, but a missing toe is not the end of the world. Many people have learned to strengthen their other nine toes to walk and even run successfully. A podiatrist will likely recommend physical therapy and special exercises to help you to strengthen your muscles and adapt to a missing toe. Special shoes and toe fillers can be designed to provide you with the additional support you need. Prosthetics are also available to act as a toe replacement for athletes.
Protecting Your Feet and Toes
It’s important to take “steps” toward protecting your feet and toes to prevent future problems. Patients with diabetes must work closely with their doctor to get their blood glucose levels under control. That may include adopting a better diet, taking prescribed medication and checking blood sugar levels regularly. If you work at a job that puts your feet at risk, like construction or manufacturing, wear steeltoes boots or shoes at all times to protect your toes.
It is possible to live a normal life with a missing toe. Talk to your podiatrist if you have concerns about your feet—modern treatments and solutions are available to successfully relieve symptoms, strengthen your toes and bring your feet back to their full function.
Find out if a lateral ankle injury could be to blame for your constant ankle pain.
Q. What is a lateral ankle injury?
A. A lateral ankle injury is a sprain or tear of the lateral ligaments, or the ligaments found on the outer portion of the ankle.
Q. What are the symptoms of a lateral ankle injury?
A. The most common symptoms are: chronic pain in the ankle, reduced mobility and function in the foot, swelling and inflammation, a weakened ankle, and poor rangeofmotion. Some athletes with a lateral ankle injury may not be able to bear any weight on the foot, or they may feel as if the ankle is unstable and gives out when walking.
Q. What are the causes of a lateral ankle injury?
A. One of the primary causes is playing sports, especially spots that involve inversion movements or changing directions quickly, like basketball or tennis. Lateral ankle injuries occur when the athlete rolls the ankle inward, causing tears or strain on the lateral ligaments. Chronic lateral ankle pain can also be the result of an ankle sprain that never properly healed.
Q. How are lateral ankle injuries diagnosed?
A. We will discuss your medical history and then delve into the symptoms you are experiencing. We will ask if you’ve ever had any previous ankle injuries and what the treatment process was for your past injuries. Besides running a thorough physical examination to check for tender or swollen areas of the ankle, we may also run a series of Xrays to look at the health of your ankle joint.
Q. What kinds of treatments are available for lateral ankle injuries?
A. The initial treatment requires that patients stay off their injured foot and rest as much as possible to reduce pain and swelling. Icing the injury can also be helpful for the first couple days to reduce inflammation. It’s best to follow the RICE method when it comes to caring for your injury at home: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
You will also want to see your podiatrist for physical therapy, where we will perform a series of strengthening and stretching exercises that are meant to restrengthen damaged ligaments and improve rangeofmotion. Because those with lateral ankle injuries are also prone to future injuries, following routine strengthening exercises will help reduce your chances of reinjury. Expect to be in physical therapy for about six to 10 weeks.
There are some patients that don’t experience any relief from their symptoms even with these treatments. When this happens, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the damaged ligaments and promote better healing.
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