Ballet Exercises - Are foot stretchers safe and will they work?

by Vivien
(Colorado)

Ballet Exercises - Are foot stretchers safe and will they work?






Dear Odette,

I am a passionate ballet dancer, who basically eats, sleeps and think ballet. I do about two hours of pointe a week, for the last two years. I was wondering about how foot stretchers affect your feet and if they are safe. I have very very flat feet that make pointe work frustrating. Its a major set back and I find myself always debating quitting pointe because of it. I have a friend who has a foot stretcher. She says it works great for her and she's seen improvement in her feet. I'm wondering if I should get one, but I am also terrified od them. I am very susceptible to injuries of all kinds and have lucky enough not to have any Achilles problems (knock on wood). I really feel like I need the extra push, but don't trust such contraptions. Any advice? Or is there a alternate why to safely improve feet?

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Reply by Odette
To: - Ballet Exercises - Are foot stretchers safe and will they work?

Hello Viv,
Thanks for your message it's great to hear about yourself and your passion for ballet. Personally, I've never had any experience with a foot stretcher but I have heard of them and one of my friend's who is a professional dancer had one with him to stretch before class. I am sure if you use it the correct way it won't be harmful to cause injury, but like with anything you don't want to over stretch your feet to cause pain.

Whatever happens, tell yourself you won't quit pointe because of your feet. I know it might make you feel unconfident or self-conscious, but you can improve and build the courage to embrace what you have and work with what you have. Trust me, every single dancer has limitations and areas the wish to magically make better but also everyone has their own strengths too. I bet you have other areas which are your stronger point and as it happens your feet is one aspect you can focus on more in your classes.

If you are able to get a foot stretcher, then go ahead and experiment to see how it works for you. Remember though, everything takes time to see a difference so you'll have to be patient and consistent.

I always recommend resistant bands to young dancers on pointe too, because I've always used them myself to stretch out and strengthen my feet. You can see my physical therapy equipment for more info on the bands - it's definitely worth a look!

Best wishes,
Odette

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