Getty Images

Ask Amy: I Have Morton's Toes. How Do I Find a More Stable Relevé?

I have very tapered Morton's toes (longer second toes). My big toe joints are about a half centimeter shorter than my second and third toe joints, so I have a terrible time finding stability on demi-pointe. My weight lands on that second toe joint, which is pretty narrow and uncomfortable under that pressure. How can I find a more stable relevé? —Larissa


Morton's toe, where the second toe is longer than the big toe, is a common inherited condition that can cause problems for dancers. I consulted Dr. Frank Sinkoe, a podiatrist who works with students at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, about the issues you're having. "Your relevé is very dependent on the range of motion of the first metatarsal joint," says Sinkoe. "If there's a limitation, such as a shorter first metatarsal, then your weight goes to the lesser toes."

To help give you more stability, he suggests padding the bottoms of your feet from the second to fifth metatarsals, leaving the underside of your big toe free. "That helps distribute more weight over the first toe joint and will take some of the pressure off your second toe." Look for 1/16-inch-thick self-adhesive felt pads. Sinkoe particularly recommends Dr. Jill's brand, model J10 (available at drjillsfootpads.com).

To improve your stability in relevé, Sinkoe also suggests this strengthening exercise: Wrap a resistance cable around a barre, standing far enough away to feel tension. Face the barre and stand on one foot, pulling the cable towards you with the opposite hand—you should feel your weight go forward. Relevé up for 2 counts and slowly lower for 4, repeating 10 times.

His last word of advice? Unless you have a major bunion issue, avoid using toe spacers. "The second toe needs to be aligned with the foot," he says. "If it's being pushed aside by a spacer, you may experience more problems."

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Stephen Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks