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The severity of its physical requirements make ballet tougher than just about any other activity! Besides the need for flexibility and timing, great strength and endurance are required in order to succeed in ballet.

Ballet offers growing children and teens poise and grace along with good physical development, enhanced aerobic capacity, improved posture and even a more mature attitude to the student. When children are taught by competent instructors, usually any harm to the developing feet and legs are being avoided by proper instruction.

Nonetheless, the stresses and strains to the feet cannot be ignored and for this reason the following tips may be beneficial:

  • Discomfort may be common, but acute longstanding pain should be investigated. “Dancing through” pain may lead to further disability later on.

  • Ingrown nails are common in young ballet dancers. They should not be ignored, otherwise they can lead to severe infections. Often a simple painless treatment can provide instant comfort.

  • Children should be honest with themselves, their instructors and their parents when it comes to pain. They often fear that if they admit to their foot pain that a long lay-off will result. However, by seeking prompt attention, usually time off dance can be avoided, and the pain can easily be relieved.

  • Heredity can often play a role with foot problems. For example, bunions are caused by pronated (flat) feet and not necessarily by ballet. The inherited cause can be corrected to prevent future deformity.

  • Warts can often show up on children’s feet. If left unattended, they can become painful, or they may enlarge or spread. Early recognition and treatment is the key.

  • Street shoes of good quality are especially important for ballet dancers. Good quality running shoes or laced walking shoes with good support and cushioned soles are advisable for daily wear. (Not flimsy slip-ons.)

  • Sore spots, red marks or points of irritation can be easily treated. Often a simple pad designed to relieve pressure can enhance comfort greatly.

  • The outward foot and leg positions of ballet can often aggravate flat feet. Proper instruction minimizes this. However for day-to-day walking, a properly designed orthotic device can correct foot imbalances and strengthen and realign the feet.

  • Prevention will avoid a number of future disabling foot problems.

Parents should feel free to discuss any concerns about their children’s foot health with one of our highly skilled Chiropodists.

Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.


Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


Across from the Broadview Subway Professional  Family  Foot  Care