En Pointe Orthotics – Orthotics or Just Padding?

8 Responses

  1. Katrina says:

    Dear Marisa
    I have taught ballet for 35 years and when my young students are fitted for their first pointe shoes I schedule a time to go with them to make sure they are fitted properly. The majority of the time everything is fine but then you get the occasional student who has a very long big toe or (even more of a problem), a second toe longer than the big.(a problem I know first hand). Both these problems are huge for growing and developing feet. Too much pressure too often on the long toe causes malformation – I can testify to this myself – and many a blister.
    Orthotic pointe shoe pads are a godsend for these students as it spreads the distribution of weight across the toes as if they were all the same length. If the child also needs spacers then they are also keeping the foot in the correct alignment as well. No pointe shoe can accommodate for uneven toe lengths no matter how well designed. My question for Marissa is – Have you tried them yourself? You may be surprised and then you would be able to answer all your own questions and express a more informed opinion.

    • Marisa says:

      I’m not saying they don’t work. I’m saying they are not “orthotics”, they are customised padding. By calling them “orthotics” they are justifying a higher price tag. Have you compared the Perfect Fit Pointe Shoe Insert, which is the same product at a fraction of the price?

  2. Christine is entitled to her opinion but is she fully informed? The En Pointe Orthotics carry a fully written endorsement by a leading foot surgeon and specialist as well as a physiotherapist. Having En Pointe Orthotics correctly fitted by trained staff is crucial as DIY may lead to their own set of problems. Whether to use them or not should be the decision of the parent and/or child. We offer all options . Our suggestion would be to read the testimonials, talk to those who absolutely know the benefits and then make up your own mind. We have no other agenda but the protection and health of a child’s foot and toes. En Pointe Orthotics offer a 100% guarantee should you not be fully satisfied. We would be more than happy to address any concerns directly and supply additional information as required. Please check out website.

    • Marisa says:

      Thank you for your response, sorry for the delay in approval as I’ve been away over the holidays.

      The opinion expressed in this article is my own, having looked at your website and discussed your product with dance physiotherapists and teachers. My main concern about your product is not its effectiveness, but whether the marketing is misleading. I stand by my view that this product is a form of custom padding, not an orthotic.

  3. Random Swan says:

    Hi Marisa,

    I’m a dancer that came back to ballet as an adult, (at 31!) and have been dancing en pointe for around three years now, probably about two hours a week, plus occasional practice around the house. I ended up making a DIY version of the American insert you mention by buying some moulding putty on Ebay, and making/sewing fabric inserts out of a synthetic running shirt.

    The reason I was drawn to investigate and improvise was because I was concerned that all my weight was being supported on my big toes, and this was painful. The only solutions fitters suggested involved sticking more padding around/underneath the toe – making it difficult to feel the floor, but also making it more bulky than the other toes, so less possible to spread the weight . Using the inserts mean that extra space in the shoe (under the rest of the toes) is filled in, so that these toes can also bear weight. It also means that the insert is at its thinnest point under the big toe, so you can really feel the floor. I have no pain (pressure yes, but not pain) when I dance.

    In my case, there’s also very little material or putty under the soles of my feet – probably similar or slightly less than if I used an Ouch Pouch or other gel cushion. I can move my toes individually in the shoes, both on flat and en pointe. I think this is because you need to really move around in the shoe when making the inserts, as it explains in the video.

    I’ve been using my inserts for about two years, and I’ve never had a hygiene problem with them either – I just wash them with some soapy water in the hand basin every now and again. They work amazingly well as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m never going to be a professional dancer – and with one, maybe two lessons of pointe a week, it’s taken me a while to develop the necessary muscles and techniques. Plus, I’m not your classic ballerina physique, so am probably putting more stress on parts of my feet than your average willowy 12 year old dancer. I think if I hadn’t found a way to spread my weight out and get rid of the pain, I would have given up on pointework by now. I think these type of inserts are great for helping more adult dancers experience dancing en pointe – with the help of good teachers and knowledgeable fitters. They are not a substitute for good technique though.

    • Marisa says:

      Thank you for such a detailed post about your experience, and I love the fact that you made a DIY version of the product! You hav answered some of my concerns and it sounds as though the putty is just the right solution for you – and possibly for many other dancers too. Thanks again.

  4. Christine says:

    There is no need for such things, most of today’s dancers have strong technique by the time they go onto pointe work. The shoes of today offer so many more dynamics to ensure safe and comfortable wear. These appliances are actually fitted by people who have not even been trained in classical dance, and are not medically qualified, who have little or no understanding of what the student is trying to accomplish with her technique. My main concern is the amount of silicon under the toes, it will not allow you to strengthen the foot muscles whilst going through the demi pointe. A marketing tool that doesnt benefit classical dance for young people.

    • Marisa says:

      Thanks for your comment, Christine. I agree, I’ve seen other physiotherapists and dancers say that dancers shouldn’t need an orthotic if they have been properly prepared for pointe. However the American version isn’t claiming to do anything other than provide a neat alternative to padding, and that’s what I see it as. Young dancers these days seem to use an inordinate amount of padding, and this looks as though it could give them the effect of heavy padding without the bulk. It also holds spacers more securely in place. It would be interesting to know how the Australian version is moulded: the instructions for the American version require you to work the foot from flat through demi-pointe to pointe and back again several times while the silicon is drying, which I’d have thought would “squelch” out the surplus silicon under the toes?

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