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In ballet, the dancers wear a type of shoe known as a Pointe shoe. This tight fitting shoe is commonly constructed of layers of paper, fabric, leather and glue. The resulting product is quite stiff and intended to provide stability and support to the dancer’s foot when they stand ‘en pointe’ (on the tips of their toes). If these shoes are not worn in properly before lengthy training or performances the dancer will be susceptible to serious injury.

However, even a well fitted Pointe shoe can result in bruised toenails, blisters and raw skin. This is due to the tight fit, unyielding properties of the materials and the stress placed on the toes whilst standing en pointe.

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A Bunion (Hallux Valgus) is an abnormal mass of bone that develops on the distal end of the first metatarsal, which forms part of the ‘big toe’. This abnormal mass affects the structure of the foot, causing the big toe to curve inwards, by exherting pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joint. Causality of this abnormality is yet to be confirmed, but is thought to be genetically inherited and exacerbated by tight fitting footwear.

Pointe shoes are commonly worn by ballet dancers, enabling them to stand ‘en pointe’ (on the tips of their toes). These shoes place enormous pressure on this joint which often results in, or pronounces, a bunion. In extreme cases, a bunion may cause the big toe to cross over or under the second toe, affecting the individual’s ability to walk comfortably.

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