Ballerina Foot X-ray: Importance & Defects

Ballerina foot x-ray is one that give the image of how a ballet dancer’s foot look like after some period of practice and dancing. Ballet dancers among other dancers work very hard to make their dancing art better. They practice so hard and protect their bodies as much as they could when they are dancing.

Ballerina foot x-ray is done to get a quick image of how the inside of the dancer’s foot is. It can show the arches and whether they are in the correct position, the bones and their alignment and if any part of the foot is going through too much pressure.


Just like the hands are important to a doctor, the foot of a ballet dancer is very important. Ballet dancing is not an easy task, it needs energy, dedication and putting pressure on the foot to become perfect and master difficult moves. Getting an x-ray of the foot is very necessary is as to know how healthy it is. The alignment, structure and position of the foot bones needs to be proper and right so as to give the dancer enough balance.

If any of the bones are misaligned, you may have to stand in a bad or unnatural position. A natural and perfect position is one technique every ballet dancer must have. An x-ray can show the arches, whether they are too high or too low. Having the best arch will make every movement look natural and easy. The flexibility of your ankles and feet will also be assessed to determine if you can make motions and perform some basic movements.

A foot x-ray can be used to find out if there is any broken bones or joint that have been dislocated, ballet dancers are prone to break their ankle bones while preforming some difficult moves. X-ray can also show the cause of swelling, tenderness or pain in the foot of a dancer. If there is any deformity in the foot, a doctor treats and sets the bones. After the treatment, another x-ray is taken to see if the bones are in perfect shape or have properly healed.


An x-ray is done by a specialist in a hospital, the doctor uses an x-ray machine to send beams or radiation to the foot, the beams go through the foot and the image of the bones are recorded on a computer or an x-ray film. The image will capture both the soft tissues and the bones in the foot like the back of the foot bones (tarsal bones), toe bones (phalanges) and the front part of the foot (metatarsal bones).

The x-ray technician will take images of the foot from the front, side and at an angle. The front is the anteroposterior view, the side is the lateral view and the angle is the oblique view. The patient usually sits on a table while the foot is placed on the machine. If the purpose of the x-ray is to detect abnormalities, then the other foot will be x-rayed also.


The pointe is a step that makes a ballet dancer perfect or good. A dancer must be very ready and has practiced a lot to achieve the pointe step. For a dancer who is below the age of 11, doing a pointe may be difficult as the bones are not matured and developed enough to withstand the pressure or stress that comes with it. 

An x-ray of the foot of a four year old ballet dancer will show close spaces between the long metatarsal bones, the close spaces are found on each of the long bones and it looks like it divides each metatarsal into different parts. These space is just cartilage and soft bones that have not properly formed. If a pointe step that requires putting pressure on the front bones is done by a child younger than 11, these soft bones can be damaged permanently and can affect the development of the foot bones.

An x-ray of a child aged 11 showed that the spaces are nearly closed and pointe can be done at this time. This is because the stress from the dance steps will not have any effect on the bone development. Starting to practice pointe at this age will make the bones stronger to take on other difficult steps. The x-ray of an adult ballet dancer will show that the metatarsal bones are fully developed and ready to withstand any form of stress or pressure while dancing on the toes.

Ballerina Foot X-ray
Photo credit:


The ankle supports the dancer to take on any position. A standing x-ray of a ballet dancer will show the bones in the ankle as well. The joint that connects the distal ends of the tibia bone and the fibula with the talus ends will be clearly seen. While the dancer is in a standing position, the rounded upper part of the talus is fitted into the mortise while the weight of the position is on the joint that is found in the articulation of the distal tibia’s hyaline cartilage surface and the hyaline cartilage of the talar dome.

If the dancer takes on the pointe step, the weight of the leg moves after the or at the back of the talar dome. The posterior portion of the tibia’s articular surface leaves the articular surface of the dome to rest on the posterior talus as the posterior tibia, posterior talus, and superior calcaneus converge (Lower Extremity Review Magazine). The coming together of these bones makes the ankle to become locked and more stable for the dancer to take on an en pointe step.


Having a dancer’s fracture is one injury a ballet dancer may have to face during his or her career period. This foot injury comes with pain and swelling of the affected foot. The fracture may cause the base of the little toe metatarsal bone to pull off. Having an x-ray will show that there is a pulling off of the base of the 5th metatarsal bone. The size of the fragment that is fractured will depend on the cause of the injury. 


Ballet dancing is beautiful but can cause many injuries to the foot of the dancer. This is because they do more of jumping, lifting and running which are all done with the foot. Some common injuries most ballerinas have are:

1. Broken or black toenails: These are caused by constantly standing on the toes and overusing the foot.

2. Sprained ankle: This is common in most dancers including ballerinas because they put more pressure on the lateral ankle and overwork it during their practice and performance.

3. Ingrown toenail: Toenail or skin may start to grow out from the edges of the other toenails.

4. Blisters: This is common if the dancer uses shoes that are not properly fitted or friction during movement between toes.

5. Bunions: A bone may start to grow on the joint at the end of the big toe. They may caused due to much pressure on the big toe or constant rubbing tighter of the toes.

6. Achilles tendonitis: This injury can occur when the Achilles tendon is stressed more than it should. When the injury is mild, it can be managed and treated at home but when it is severe, surgery may be required.

7. Hallux rigidus: This is an injury that causes the big toe to become stiff and difficult to move. If it is not treated at the early stage, it can progress to worse condition.

8. Fracture: Ballet dancers fracture their foot often than other dancers because of how rigorous their movements are. Fracture makes the bones to crack and if the dancer still dances with the bad foot, the pain becomes worse.

9. Morton’s neuroma: This is a condition that causes the tissues around a nerve in the foot to thicken. This is caused by irritation or damage of the nerve. It can cause severe pain in the toes and ball of the foot.

10. Plantar fasciitis: When the thick band of tissue that joins the heel bone to the toes are inflamed, plantar fasciitis occurs. The inflammation causes pain and inability to use the foot properly.

11. Foot corns: The skin can become hard if the foot goes through more stress and friction. If they are not treated on time, they may turn to ulcers.

All these issues or damages may cause the affected foot to swell, the dancer feels pain and finds it difficult to use the foot properly. The best way to detecting the exact problem or the severity of the damage will be to have an x-ray done on the foot. This way, it will be easier to tackle the problem.


A ballerina foot x-ray is very important, in fact every ballet dancer should have an x-ray from often to know the alignment and structure of the bones. The foot is the most important part of the body to a ballet dancer, so appropriate care should be given to it. The x-ray can also be used to detect abnormalities and defects so that treatment can be given. The importance of an x-ray of the foot to a ballerina should be emphasized and done periodically.

error: Content is protected !!