The Importance of the Feet to Ballet Dancers

Ballet is often hard on the feet. So much load is put on the feet through the actions of ballet and the demands on the foot are quite significant. At the pro stage these demands is often as much as 8 or so hours per day and all this is performed in light-weight unsupportive shoes. The scienitific data is that ballet performers have more foot issues than the non-dancing population. Almost all ballet dancers should have their foot care routines which they do in order to strengthen the foot muscles and take good care of their feet and toe nails. It's going to take a long time to be successful in ballet and the very last thing that they want to occur is for anything to go wrong because of a foot issue.

In an episode of the podiatry related chat show, PodChatLive, they had a comprehensive chat about the foot troubles in dancing and the demands put on the foot. The 2 guests that the hosts questioned were Catherine Crabb and Sarah Carter that are both lecturers in Podiatric Medicine in the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia. Prior to their podiatry work Sarah and Catherine were dancers at a very high stage so this combined experiences and expertise in both podiatry and dancing meant that they are both well placed to speak about this issue. The episode talked about if the prevalent concern of hypermobility is essential to become a dancer and their reply could have surprised a lot of listeners. They outlined the most widespread injuries affecting dancers and since 85% of dancing injuries are typically in the lower leg, it certainly demonstrates the relevance of podiatry. Furthermore they compared the dissimilarities between female and male ballet dancers and the various injuries seen. Furthermore they discussed the value of the ballet slipper and the mad things ballerinas do to them, and the significance about a suitable ‘pointe assessment’ along with what it will include.

The Nike Running Shoe Controversy

There is quite a controversy brewing at the moment in the running community associated with a potential unfair advantage from performance enhancing running shoes. These are shoes that provide a return of energy after the foot has hit the ground. These types of shoes are potentially illegal and performance enhancing, but they have not been banned yet. Almost all elite runners are now using them in marathons and many nonelite runners are also using them to get an alleged performance boost. They have become so widely used, it may not be possible for the authorities to regulate there use, even if the wanted to. A recent episode of the podiatry livestream was devoted to this issues, especially the controversy around the Nike Vaporfly and Next% running shoes.

In this episode of PodChatLive, the hosts chatted with Alex Hutchinson talking about those running shoes which appears to have moved the needle more than any other shoe in history of running, the Nike Vaporfly and Next%. They talked about if they come good on their marketing promise of improving runners by 4% and what does that actually mean? They talked about where does the line between innovation and ‘shoe doping’ get drawn and if the shoes are they only for elite runners. Alex Hutchinson is an author and journalist in based Toronto, Canada. His primary focus these days is the science of endurance and fitness, which he covers for Outside magazine, The Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Running magazine. Alex also covers technology for Popular Mechanics (where he earned a National Magazine Award for his energy reporting) and adventure travel for the New York Times, and was a Runner’s World columnist from 2012 to 2017. His latest book is an exploration of the science of endurance. It’s called ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.


What is the sagittal plane theory of foot biomechanics?

Foot biomechanics is a complex activity as there are so many bones in the foot and muscles controlling the foot that can be difficult to understand. There are many different theories on foot function that further complicate it. Sometimes it does get so complicated it is hard to understand. PodChatLive is a weekly live conversation for the regular education of Podiatrists and others who may be interested. There have been several episodes of PodChatLive devoted to the topic of the different biomechanical theories and ways to understand them. The livestream goes out live on Facebook and then is later uploaded to YouTube. Every livestream episode has a different person or number of guests to go over a different area each time and several episodes have been devoted to biomechanics. Questions are replied to live by the hosts and guests while in the livestream on Facebook. There is also a PodCast version of each show on iTunes and Spotify and the other usual podcast options. They've developed a big following that keeps growing. PodChatLive is regarded as one of the ways in which podiatrists could get free continuing education credits on biomechanics.
One of the guests that they had on to talk about the sagittal plane facilitation theory of foot biomechanics was Howard Dananberg. Howard is widely considered as the podiatrist that started the understanding of this theory of foot function. He talked about what it was that set him off down that pathway of his approach to the understanding foot biomechanics. He talked about just what it was that first starting his thinking about sagittal plane facilitation theory mechanics in the context of ‘functional hallux limitus’ and what that is and how that influenced his practice over the last three decades. Howard regularly teaches and lectures on the concept of sagittal place biomechanics in many different countries since his retirement from clinical practice.