Why do ballerinas have such ugly feet

Ballet Injuries: How Does Ballet Affect Your Feet?

Ballet injuries often affect the ballerina's feet. True to the motto: "If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer", every aesthetic has its price. As a ballet dancer, you accept a high risk of foot injuries.

The perfect movements of a ballet dancer are unparalleled in terms of aesthetics and grace. But behind this beautiful facade there is another, a painful world. Classical ballet is a prime example of one High-performance sport that demands a very one-sided load from the body, especially one in the case of ballet Overloading the foot. Because what appears to the fascinated viewer as a performance of weightless grace places high demands on the body and especially the feet of the ballerina. The dancers' many pains and frequent injuries remain hidden. They have to struggle with these every day and often accompany them Damage to the feet from the ballet they time of their (professional) life.

Injuries in ballet: Feet are exposed to a particularly high risk of injury

You will certainly not be surprised that the ballet dancer's feet are particularly affected by injuries and pain. Especially the toe dance often arouses great amazement in the audience at this performance of the toes. However, it is many of the ballet dancer's movements in combination that cause injuries. Jumping, powerful exercises with in part extreme stretching of the individual joints and taking in part unnatural positions take their toll.

In addition, the ballet dancers mostly under standing under heavy pressure, excessively slim to stay. The resulting nutrient-poor diet often leads to one Weakening of bone and muscle tissue. But the ballerina needs strong muscles and bones in order to master her performance brilliantly. This dilemma inevitably leads to one extreme overuse of the body and subsequent health problems and injuries.

In the following, we would like to briefly explain the most common foot injuries in ballet and offer dancers an initial orientation when foot pain occurs.

Achilles tendonitis or ruptured Achilles tendon

The long tendon on the back of the leg, the Achilles tendon, is heavily stressed with repetitive and energy-consuming movements. The constant excessive stress on the Achilles tendon in ballet can eventually cause them to inflamed, sticky, and causing a gnawing pain in the heel and lower leg. Lots of ballet dancers dance against the pain despite the Achilles tendonitis because they are professionally forced to do so.

This can cause the tendon to tear. The pain in the moment of Achilles tendon tear occurs is typically described as a sensation like being kicked hard in the calf. Many sufferers who had to experience an Achilles tendon tear also mention that a sound such as a whip can be heard.

Heel spur (so-called plantar fasciitis)

Classical ballet requires one high precision of the movements. Consequently, the constant repetition of certain exercises is part of the everyday life of ballet dancers. Among other things, this can lead to the tendon on the sole of the foot that connects the heel to the toes becomes overloaded. The consequence is the so-called Plantar fasciitis, the one severe pain which is typically strongest in the morning when you get up and lays down a little towards evening.

A early diagnosis of heel spur is particularly important to rule out a possible nerve disease.

Sprain of the foot

The doctor's statement "Nothing broken, just a sprain" gives little comfort to an injured ballet dancer. Because a sprain is often very painful and the pain lasts until the healing is over.

Ballet dancers are typical victims of the dance's movement patterns, which quickly become one due to the rapid changes in direction, twists and turns, jumps and landings Sprain of the foot can lead. Although this can almost always be treated conservatively, a sprain is still bad news for professional ballerinas, although there is no permanent damage: Because dancers must follow the doctor's instructions, until the sprain heals. Dancing is usually taboo. And a sprain can take a long time to heal.

Marching fracture: stress fractures on the foot

A constant and recurring monotonous load on the foot and leg can also cause one Stress fracture or a so-called stress fracture cause. Such a stress fracture is also known as "March fracture" known. This is usually one that can be detected in the X-ray examination fine bone fracture. The pain intensity is completely individual, it ranges in pain level from light to intense. Marching fractures can sometimes be really relentless and cause severe pain.

The occurrence of a stress fracture is more common in northern climates. The inadequate sun exposure here more often leads to one Vitamin D deficiencywhich in turn can cause weakened bones.

In classical ballet but also in other forms of contemporary and traditional dances as well as sports such as athletics, stress fractures on the foot or lower leg are particularly common injuries in dancers and athletes who frequently run or jump.

Dancer fracture

In the event of this injury, the doctor will see an X-ray examination Bone disruption of the long bone on the outside of the foot. This injury is also called "Dancer break"Or"dancer’s foot" known. Typically, the break occurs after the dancer takes a jump. The pain is reported suddenly and the dancer is immediately incapacitated.

Dancer's Heel: What the bump on the heel is all about

When the ballet dancer's ankle joint can no longer take on a load due to pain and can itself small tears in the tendon form, typically develops a bump on the back of the heel. The added pain then usually prevents certain movements from being carried out.

In the technical language this is called posterior impingement syndrome because it affects the back of the ankle. The anterior impingement syndrome affects the anterior part of the ankle and can result from intense repetitions of certain exercises.

Hammer toe

Even in ballet there is due to the constant misalignment of the foot the risk of getting a Hammer toe trains. This is so called because it is said to be reminiscent of the shape of a hammer head. If the hammer toe is not treated, the toe may become fixed in this position. In this way, when wearing shoes, especially the narrow ballet shoes, a painful friction that makes dancing difficult can.

Ingrown toenail

The ingrown toenail also belongs in this category of small injuries with a big impact. Although it sounds relatively harmless, an ingrown toenail is painful enough to make someone unable to dance.

The problem is often self-caused: the skin grows towards the toenail because it was not cut straight and crosswise during the shortening. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can also lead to infection. A quick toenail correction is therefore recommended.


Pain in the front of the foot, partly accompanied by one Numbness in the toes, can on a Neuroma Clues. If you have a neuroma one or more nerves pinched, burning pain and inflammation follow. When treating a neuroma, the ballerinas are temporarily unable to work, but treatment of the neural tumor should not be delayed, as untreated can develop make the pain worse and lead to more serious problems.

Sesamoiditis (so-called turf toe injury)

Pain under the big toe, especially at walk barefoot, can on a Sesamoiditis Clues. Typically, the pain is described as follows: “It feels like I'm walking on a pebble.” People with arched feet in particular tend to have what is known as turf toe because their feet do not absorb enough pressure from above.

The good news for sesamoiditis is: Although it is painful, it can usually be treated without surgery, with the right insoles, possibly physiotherapy and other conservative methods.

A Sesamoiditis is typically done by High energy and high impact dance styles caused (such as hip hop), it is created here Overloading the bones and tendons that run under the big toe.


Also one Metatarsalgia is a disease that often affects ballet dancers, but also professional athletes from other sports high leg and foot strain. The metatarsalgia is characterized by Pain in the ball of the toes which is named after the five metatarsal bones. In ballet, too, the ball of the foot in the front has to absorb the main load of the push-off phase of a movement, which leads to an overload of the foot in this area, especially due to the many jumping movements. The Treatment of metatarsalgia is usually not surgical, here you can also find out more about Metatarsalgia.

Conclusion: In ballet, foot injuries are more the rule than the exception

Ballet dancers often pay the price for their light-footed and graceful movements Foot injuriesthat through the constant overloading of the feet in ballet arise.

These cannot be avoided completely, they are just as much a part of the profession as the strict dietary rules. Therefore, all dancers should seek professional medical treatment at an early stage. The Damage to the feet in ballet can be kept as low as possible if they are supported by a professional network consisting of Foot surgeons, physiotherapists and podiatrists be accompanied permanently.


I hope the article was informative for you and I hope you continue to have easy steps on healthy feet!

Your Adem Erdogan

About the author:

Adem Erdogan is one of the leading foot surgeons in Germany. His extensive experience in both diagnostics and operations enables him to develop an individual approach for each patient. In his specialist practice in Düsseldorf he treats foot deformities and undesirable developments.

Read here how other patients have rated the foot specialist Adem Erdogan on www.jameda.de.

Posted in Aesthetic Foot, Healthy FootTagged ballet, ballet feet, foot pain, foot injury, foot overload