Returning to Pointe after Injury

I’m a professional freelance dancer (I’m 30, if it matters), and over the past two years, have suffered a number of injuries that have kept me out of my pointe shoes. 

First off, I suffered a 2nd metatarsal stress fracture (which I kept dancing on… misdiagnosed for several months because it was in the joint. Due to dancing corporate gigs in heels on concrete), followed by a really resilient ankle impingement (again, not pointe related, but just coming to the end of healing that). Shortly prior to this series of injuries, I had a shoe fitting and was mostly pleased with what I walked out with (should it make a difference, I was originally in Blochs, shortly in Freeds (hated them), and now in GMs). 

My question is this: after these foot injuries and the time off, is it reasonable to go back to those most recent pointe shoes, or should I be refit again with these injuries in mind? I’m not sure how much of a change this would create (aside from loss of strength/flexibility), and whether it’s safer to start from square one. Since I’m not with a company, I’m truly on my own and just looking for another opinion. It might be a valid question for others as well- should a dancer always be refit after a foot injury?

Thanks for any insight you might have! 

Good question! Reassessing pointe shoes after an injury is not a bad idea, or even periodically throughout one’s career. What I’m more interested in is to make sure your foot has come back fully after the injury – so the fitter will be evaluating a strong yet flexible foot.

Begin by sitting legs in front of you and simply pointe the two feet. How do they compare? What about when you flex the toes? And then flex at the ankle?

Now stand up in a parallel first and releve on both feet – then again in turnout. Now do the same with a single leg rise. You are looking for differences that may indicate any weakness or tightness.

Next, I want you to mobilize the foot… Here is a short (2 1/2 min) Youtube video that does a good job of demonstrating that. I think of ‘wringing’ the foot out like wringing a washcloth when he is demonstrating the last mobilization. I also like to gently hold the big toe and the 2nd toe and separate them in opposite directions… and then move to separating the 2nd & 3rd toes, and so on… down the line.


Your feet should feel nicely warmed up and mobile now as you redo all of your releves and rises on both feet, then single leg. Hopefully, the foot that sustained the fracture and injury is moving a bit better. Now after mobilizing the foot you can go into your stretches and strengtheners that you were given by your physical therapist – and back to be fitted for point shoes.

Good luck on your return to pointe!

To your success,

Deborah

2 replies
  1. LEIGH Roberts
    LEIGH Roberts says:

    You can also seek out a physical therapist who works with dancers. They should be able to help you transition back to pointe work based on your injury. Good luck!

    Reply

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