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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

Hi Ann. I don't know if dance contributed to my bunions or (believe it or not) helped. My parents placed me in ballet class when I was four because of my totally flat feet. I have a photo of me in my ballet shoes at age 7, and my ankles are rolled in and I'm practically standing on the insides of my feet. Many years of ballet later, my ankles and calves grew strong enough to hold my feet in a somewhat normal position, but it was always an effort, not to say tiring. My balance has always been poor. I was put in pointe for a few years, but I stopped that eventually. I'm sure they did nothing good for my bunions. I left dance alone until my teens, when I started modern in bare feet. Contributed I'm sure, but it kept the compensatory muscles strong. Then was tap (not good) and about ten years ago I started ballroom dance (in 2" heels). That was when I was diagnosed with bunions and arthritis (my 30s), although I had had pain since my teens. I think all and all it was a long, gradual process, and in my opinion I would have landed here eventually, dance or no. I have probably worn heels for less than 5% of my waking life. (Scratch that - 2%) Genetics and gravity got me.

I had two bunion surgeries in 2001/2002 that were done poorly and I had to change doctors to get satisfaction (haven't done much dancing or anything since then). I had a Lapidus procedure on my right last month, which my ortho said should have been done in the first place. Now that my metatarsal is fused, I don't think there'll be any be any more problems. We will wait and see what we should do next.

I will probably never dance ballroom again, which I really regret because I love it, but I don't want to cause any further damage. It really is impossible to dance in flats because it puts the balance all off (not to mention makes me too short for most partners). Ironically, my feet are probably more stable now than they've been my entire life and could withstand the abuse. Oh well.

Thought: did women start wearing heels two millenia ago so they could look men in the eye and not feel "smaller"?

Anyway, thanks for asking and sorry I've gone on so. As I said, cause and effect are always fascinating to me.


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