Wound Care

Ballet and Trigger Toes treatment in Plano, Dallas, Prosper & Allen, TX

Ballet and Trigger Toes treatment in Plano, Dallas, Prosper & Allen, TX

Posted On: September 19, 2020

Ballet and Trigger Toes treatment in Dallas, Plano & Texas is a foot condition that commonly affects ballet dancers.

It is a foot condition that happens when it becomes difficult or impossible to flex the big toe due to an injury or inflammation of the tendon controlling the toes movement. The tendon that controls the toes movement is known as the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) tendon. When this tendon gets injured or inflamed, it becomes difficult or impossible to move or flex the big toe. This condition is caused by the stress exerted on the big toe.

It is known as ballet triggers because it commonly affects ballerinas. The big toe of a ballerina is always under pressure due to the load-bearing of the entire body weight on the big toe. This happens when a ballerina performs the “en pointe” position (a position whereby the ballerina stands on his or her big toe). The ballerina exerts the weight of his or her body on the big toe. The weight exerted on the big toe causes the flexor hallucis longus tendon to get injured or inflamed, which makes it difficult or impossible to flex the big toe.

Symptoms of a Trigger Toe

Trigger toe symptoms are usually mild at early stage and get worse as it progresses. Symptoms include:

  • Mild pain and discomfort that gets worse over time.
  • Difficulty or inability to perform the “en pointe” due to pain
  • Sharp pain when lowering the foot from “en pointe” position to a “flat position”
  • Inability to difficulty to flex the toe
  • Clicking sensation or sound when trying to move the toe
  • Rigid toe or feeling as though the toes are lockedb2

Causes of trigger toe

The tendon that controls the toes movements known as flexor hallucis longus, runs down the leg, through the calf and ankle, along the bottom (plantar) side of the foot and ends at the big toe.

When the flexor hallucis longus tendon begins to move in an irregular way through the pulley mechanism that guides it through the ankle, trigger toe begins to occur.

In the process, the flexor hallucis longus becomes inflamed or ruptured and may not fit properly into the sheath of tissue that surrounds and supports it. As the condition gets worse, the flexor hallucis longus may become frayed or scarred. This can cause the flexor hallucis longus to adhere to the tissue sheath around it and the resulting friction then prevents the tendon from gliding smoothly back and forth, which results to trigger toe.

Trigger toe commonly affects ballet dancers due to the dancing of the “en pointe” position. However, it could affect anybody, though very rare.


Your doctor may conduct physical examination of your toes to search for tenderness. You may be asked to describe your symptoms. Your doctor may ask you to exert weight on your toes to determine how much pain you feel.

Your doctor may also recommend undergoing imaging scans such as X-ray to view the internal structure of your toes so that he or she can know the exact spot that the inflammation or injury occurred.

Treatment and Management

There are a variety of treatments available for managing trigger toes. Mild cases of trigger toes can be treated using home remedies where severe cases will require the care and treatment of a podiatrist. If left untreated, it can lead to long-term foot damage.

Treatment options include:


Taking some time off ballet dancing to rest your toes can help relieve pain.

Apply Ice

Placing ice pack wrapped in a towel on the affected toe can help relieve pain and inflammation.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and inflammation.


Engaging in foot strengthening exercises help to strengthen your toes and tendons. These strengthening exercises also prepare your toes for the pressure that will be exerted on the toes during ballet.

Weight loss

Ballet dancers with excess weight exert great pressure on their toes. It is advised to lose weight in order to reduce the amount of pressure exerted on your toes.


Surgery is the last option when all other conventional treatment options have proved ineffective. When your condition is getting worse and you feel severe pain, surgery may be recommended. Surgical procedure may be performed to release the ligament portion of the flexor hallucis longus sheath and after that, the tendon can be repaired.