How Ballet Dancing Can Lead to Hammer Toe and How to Prevent It

Ballet dancing is a great skill that only a few people can master, and, if you're one of them, you want to be the best. However, if you aren't careful, you could develop hammer toe. This painful condition causes your toe to point upward, rather than straight, and can devastate a dancing career. Taking care of your feet can stop this from developing.

What Causes Hammer Toe?

Hammer toe occurs when the middle joint of a toe is dislocated and allows the toe to shoot upward. It is caused by a variety of situations, including a traumatic toe injury, arthritis, high foot arches, poorly fitting shoes, tight ligaments in the foot, and bunions putting pressure on your toes.

Early warning signs of hammer toe include severe pain in your toe joints when wearing shoes, increased flexibility in the joint, and a slight upward curve to the toe. Over time, this situation will become worse, making it important to tackle it quickly.

Can Ballet Dancing Contribute?

Think of the strain you put on your feet every day when you practice and perform ballet. Leaping through the air, spinning on-point, and other ballet exercises can cause heavy damage to feet, including serious toe injuries, tight ligaments, and even swelling that may contribute to pressure on your toes.

This is especially true if you are wearing shoes that aren't quite the right fit. Proper ballet dancing requires you to wear tight shoes, but not shoes that seriously impact the health of your feet and your toe joints.

Is It Possible to Prevent This Problem?

The best way to prevent hammer toe caused by dancing is to wear proper dancing shoes whenever you practice and perform. They should be soft to the touch, fit snugly on your foot without pinching, and allow your foot to breathe. Even more importantly, they should support your toes fully when you dance so that they don't suffer from excessive pressure on the joints.

If you should develop early warning signs of this problem, you should go to a foot doctor immediately to have them stabilize the joint with either tape or a sling. A support pad may also be necessary, as this can provide your hammer toe with a comfortable place to rest. Light stretching exercises with the toe may help.

Unfortunately, there's a chance that you may have to undergo surgery to correct hammer toe. Addressing the issue early on will keep it from progressing to that point.