What is Sickled Feet? How to get rid of  Sickled feet?

What is Sickled Feet?

Sickled feet occurs when the foot turns inwards, and it’s essential to understand that it’s possible to sickle while having a fully pointed foot. Picture this: from the side, your foot might appear pointed, but from the front view, you’ll notice the sickling. The key is correcting the foot’s alignment rather than just focusing on pointing.

Winging vs. Sickled Feet

The concept of winging, where opinions diverge, is crucial to address. While sickling involves the foot pointing inward, winging can be subjective. Some aim for a straight line from the inside of the leg rather than the outside. This may cause a slight outward curve on the leg’s exterior, which differs based on individual aesthetics and training backgrounds.

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Sickled Feet Correcting Exercises

To counter this, let’s delve into a couple of quick and straightforward exercises aimed at strengthening the outer leg muscles, commonly known as the peroneals or “power nails.”

Exercise 1: Toe Timing

Let’s start by lying flat on your toes, pressing them gently onto the ground. Now, try lifting the toes without using your hands. The aim here is not to curl the toes but to engage the muscles underneath the toes—specifically, the intrinsic muscles. Hold this position for ten counts on each foot, gradually increasing to longer holds for those with stronger feet. Finish by articulating through demi-pointe to full pointe, working the foot muscles.

Exercise 2: Point and Flex with a Thera-band

Sit up tall and wrap a Thera-band underneath the ball of your foot, ensuring the toes remain long without curling. Perform controlled point and flex movements, remembering not to curl the toes, mimicking the articulation from the previous exercise. Execute 10 to 20 repetitions on each foot, emphasizing the continuous articulation of foot muscles.

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Exercise 3: Demi-Pointe Toe Pushes

From demi-pointe position, use your toes to push against a flexible surface without curling them. Aim for ten to twenty repetitions on each foot for two to three rounds, focusing solely on toe movements in this exercise.

Exercise 4: Point and Flex on a Flexible Surface

Differing from the previous exercise, perform point and flex movements while utilizing the entire foot—from demi to full pointe and back to demi. Ensure a straight line and elongated toes at the end of the movement. This exercise significantly enhances strength for pointe work and jumping abilities.

Exercise 5: Rises with a Flexible Object

Using a flexible object placed between your ankles, rise up onto your toes while ensuring that your toes remain pressed into the floor without curling. Concentrate on maintaining a straight line without sickling or fishing the ankles. Execute 10 to 20 rises for 2 to 3 rounds to bolster intrinsic muscle usage.

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Exercise 6: Big Toe Joint Stretch

Engage in a gentle stretching exercise focusing on the big toe joint and feet. Move through demi-pointe, hold for ten seconds, gently push into the ball of the foot, return to pointe, and gently pull back through the arch. Exercise caution and perform this stretch for about a minute on each foot.

Exercise 7: Fish Action with a Thera-band

Wrap the Thera-band around the outside of the foot and perform a controlled action of taking the foot out and in, emphasizing the fish-like movement. Aim for 10 to 20 repetitions on each foot to enhance foot flexibility.

Exercise 8: Strengthening the Big Toe

Wrap the Thera-band under the big toe and push down, strengthening this crucial toe for improved pointing. Execute 10 to 20 repetitions on each foot for two rounds to ensure both feet are equally strengthened.

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Exercise 9: Myofascial Release

Using your fingers, perform myofascial release from the big toe joint down to the heel, gently massaging and stretching the underside of the foot. Spend about 2 to 3 minutes on each foot, relieving any tension or tightness.

Exercise 10: Proper Pointing Technique

Finally, let’s address a common mistake in pointing technique. Starting from flexed, move through demi-pointe, ensuring the toes stay lifted. Avoid a rushed movement where the toes drop before the rest of the foot. Aim for a smooth and articulate transition between positions to achieve a graceful and correct pointe.

Release Techniques Using Foam Roller

Following these exercises, it’s essential to release tension in the lower leg and foot muscles. For the outer leg muscles, position the foam roller horizontally and place the outside of the leg on the roller. Gently roll back and forth to release tension and promote muscle relaxation. Switch to the inside muscle by adjusting your body position and gently rolling to release tension in the inner side of the lower leg.

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By incorporating these exercises and release techniques into your routine, you’ll gradually notice improvements in foot alignment and the ability to maintain a straight line while pointing. If you feel tightness after the exercises, consider using a spiky ball to roll out the foot’s arch or try the foam roller techniques demonstrated. Practice consistency, and soon enough, you’ll achieve beautifully pointed feet and improved leg lines.

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Attention to Natural Turnout

It’s crucial to observe a dancer’s natural turnout, as shown by Emily’s natural position. Gentle pressure can be applied to relax the hip area and improve turnout. Often, dancers tense in the groin and hip flexor area, hindering their ability to achieve a good turnout and leading to undesirable foot positioning.

Transitioning to Standing

Moving from a seated to a standing position, maintaining posture and balance is essential. Emily demonstrates lifting the legs while focusing on balance and stability, employing core muscles, proper posture, and supporting the upper body.

Key Tips for Sickled Feet

Encourage dancers to imagine an elevator sensation, where the supporting heel grounds firmly while the upper body extends upwards. This dual force helps in achieving balance and confidence, crucial for maintaining proper passe positions without compromising foot alignment.

In first position, to correct sickled feet, focus on engaging the muscles outside the ankle, right under the ankle bone. Activating these muscles will help angle the foot correctly. Additionally, utilizing the outer leg muscles aids in maintaining the foot’s outward alignment.

When on relevé, shifting weight towards the smaller toes might induce sickled feet. Counter this by engaging the outer leg and ankle muscles to redistribute weight evenly across all toes. Personally, I slightly favor my big toe, but this technique can vary among dancers.


Understanding and correcting sickled feet is vital for dancers. Engaging outer leg and ankle muscles can significantly aid in correcting foot alignment, both in static positions and on relevé. The aim isn’t merely for a straight line but rather achieving alignment from the inside of the leg.

While it might take time for dancers, especially young ones, to grasp the movement without involving the hips, consistent reinforcement and guidance will eventually lead to improvement. Persistently emphasizing the correct technique and alignment will help dancers achieve the desired positions.

I hope these insights and exercises will assist you in guiding your dancers toward improving sicked positioning and improved balance.


  • Dr Khadija

    DPT | MS Pain Management | Intra-articular Injec Specialist | Acupuncturist | Cupping Therapist | Oncology Pain Specialist | Certified Chiropractor 🇬🇧 | Medical Writer | Author