Ask Deb: "Help! I Have Flat Feet"

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My pointe isn't very good, and when I try to improve it, I get spasms in my arch. It's frustrating to see other ballet dancers with their toes nearly touching the ground, while my feet are flat. Is there any way I can improve my feet?

Whenever I hear someone describe their feet as flat, I wonder if they mean pronated. There's a difference. Flat feet are structurally strong, but without much instep or arch in standing. Pronated feet occur in dancers when the arches roll in toward the big-toe side, flattening the print of the foot on the ground. Pronation goes hand in hand with weak arch muscles, and that is where I would focus your attention.

Practice lengthening through the ankle, keeping the toes separated as you slowly extend them. This is easiest to do while sitting on the ground with your legs in front of you, so you can watch your toes. You might cramp before you get to a full point. If so, you're doing it right. You've found your intrinsic muscles and need to keep your commitment to strengthening them.

From there, your next focus should be to correctly work your turnout at your hips in order to not pronate.

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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