What is the purpose of a Pre-point Profiling Assessment?
For most young dancers who do ballet, the prospect of going “en pointe” is a very exciting one. However, this is not a step that should be taken lightly. The position of standing on one’s toes is not a normal human movement and places a great deal of stress on the foot and ankle. Inadequate preparation can be problematic, both physically and aesthetically. Although your ballet educator may have a good idea of your preparedness, a focused and individualized profile should be conducted by a physiotherapist with extensive dance knowledge. This is to ensure that the ballet dancer has the technique, strength, and control to participate safely and effectively on pointe.
Key elements of a pre-point profiling assessment
During profiling we gather important information from the dancer and perform a thorough physical screening.
Prepoint profiling includes the following elements:
Dancer interview. First we collect some important information on:
- Ballet training history
- Other sports or activities
- Any past or present pain and injuries
Range of motion through the lower limbs
- This is especially important for the feet and ankles. For example, if the dancer lacks range through the ankle, they cannot get fully up on the platform of the toe box
- Too much without control can be as problematic as too little, and put undue strain on structures of the toes, feet, ankles, and knees
Abdominal or “core” control
- This is so important for balance and lumbopelvic stability and alignment
Strength, alignment, and control
- For pointe work this is particularly important for the feet and ankles to reduce the risk of injury
Basic ballet technique
- This may inform us of the need to address other areas such as turnout or flexibility
All these factors, along with the dancers age is considered to determine pointe readiness.
What happens after a pre-point profiling assessment?
It is common to find elements of concern, most of the time these can be addressed, only occasionally are therebiomechanical issues that prevent progression to pointe.
If we find elements that need work, we will develop an individualized exercise program with the dancer to address any deficits. We’ll take time with the dancer to explain corrections and teach specific exercises. We’ll also make sure the dancer understands why addressing these issues are important for pointe work. A follow up session will then be scheduled to see how the dancer is progressing.
Pointe work is a beautiful and special component of ballet, but it requires good technique, range of motion, strength, and control for success. Here at PhysioTec we have physiotherapists with an excellent understanding of ballet technique and the mechanics of anatomical function required to dance on pointe. We also know that waiting a little longer and working until you are stronger is a far better path than progressing onto pointe too early. You only get one set of feet so be sure to look after them and they’ll keep you dancing for years!
When is the best time to do a prepoint profiling assessment?
As dance classes wind down and students embark upon their summer holidays, if your child is one of those excited young dancers hoping to begin pointe in the new year, then a pre-pointe profile is highly recommended, and the end of the year is the idea time.
During a typical profile, we look at the strength of the legs, ankles, and feet as well as control and alignment. We look at the flexibility of the dancer – too much flexibility without the control can be just as problematic as too little. We’ll also assess stability around the trunk and check their balance – both so important for pointe work. Finally, we take a history of the dancers training and any injuries.
It’s not uncommon to find elements that need addressing before pointe work is commenced and the school holidays can provide an ideal time for the dancer to work on any potential issues. We will provide an individualized exercise program for the dancer, teach the exercises, and take time to explain why they are important. We’ll then schedule a follow up session to see how the dancer is progressing.
Book with one of our Pre-Pointe skilled Physios
MAKE AN ENQUIRY
Join Our Mailing List
Sign up to our monthly PhysioTec newsletter