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From Chicago, Illinois, USA:

I am a 19 year old diabetic who has had diabetes for 12 years. I started taking ballet dancing almost two years ago, and I have progressed to the point where my teacher is training me to dance in pointe (toe) shoes. I have been doing this for almost 3 months, with no problems except the occasional blister. My question is, is this kind of work bad for my diabetes, as I know diabetes can make your feet extra sensitive? If so, would it be recommended that I go off pointe?


There should be no problem with ballet or the type of dancing you describe. When people with diabetes have problems with their feet, it is related to long-standing poor glucose control and therefore damage to either circulation of the feet and/or the nerves that go to the feet.

Keep your sugars in excellent control, and you will likely not have either type of diabetes related complication. Make sure that you have proper fitting ballet shoes and perhaps consider talking directly to a podiatrist who is experienced with diabetes. Your diabetes team can make some recommendations for you and perhaps also recommend such a podiatrist for consultation.


Additional comments from Dr. Andrea Scaramuzza:

I think that if there is no sign of autonomic neuropathy and the glycemic control is good, there are no problems for using such shoes and dancing "en pointe".


Additional comments from Dr. Donough O'Brien:

Physical prowess of one kind or another can be of great importance in managing diabetes and for that reason I see no reason why you should give up dancing en pointe as long as you enjoy it. To be sure after 12 years of diabetes you are at some risk of arterial complications both from small vessels in the eye and kidney and from larger ones that could affect healing of a foot injury. However if you are in good control as judged by your A1c test and have no foot problems beyond an occasional blister I believe you should continue.


[Editor's comment: See a discussion about Pointe Basics, including "Going en Pointe" and "Criteria for Pointe Work". (En pointe -- French term for "on pointe" -- or on the toes.) WWQ]

Original posting 16 May 2003
Posted to Other


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:46
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