Bunions are irreversible without surgery. They can inhibit a ballerina's ability to dance on pointe - but dancers with bunions need not despair. It is quite possible to get around this pesky problem to become highly skilled on pointe.
A bunion is when the big toe leans toward the littler toes a bump sticks out in the opposite direction, making the feet look misshapen. While they may not necessarily be painful, bunions certainly have the potential to cause discomfort.
Causes - Most bunions are passed down genetically and may become worse as a result of faulty alignment on pointe. When standing on the toes they should all be in a straight line, but the error of letting the big toe bend sideways intensifies the severity of a bunion. Attempting to increase turnout by allowing the feet to roll in can also add to the problem, as well as pointe shoes that are too small and rub against the bunion.
Prevention - Practicing correct toe alignment on pointe, not forcing the legs to turnout beyond individual ability, and wearing the right size shoes helps prevent bunions. If you have the beginnings of a bunion, you can help prevent it getting worse by taping it properly:
Treatment - It is important to realize that a bunion cannot be completely eliminated unless surgery is performed. This comes at a cost most dancers can't afford, which is losing a large percentage of mobility in the reformed area. Since most dancers don't desire this outcome, all that can be done is to monitor technique, shoe fit, and make sure the area is padded. Taking this route will enable the dancer to keep the bunion in check and continue pointe work.
Products - Luckily there are tools that can aid in bunion control. To encourage the proper alignment of the toes, a Spacemaker by Bunheads can situated between the big toe and the second toe. It acts as a wall that resists the big toe's tendency to shift out of place. As for padding, latex bunion shields may be used.
Posted by Kristina Tyler,who blogs at A Ballerina's Journey.
Kristina Tyler enjoys writing informative articles about ballet, as well as blogging about her personal experiences in the dance world. For seven years she trained to become a professional dancer, and is currently studying with the goal of turning her passion for health and fitness into a career as a personal trainer. She still keeps up with dancing, and has recently taken up running and horseback riding.
Photo by Ninosaurusrex