For any ballerina, the feet are the foundation of the art form. Keeping your feet healthy requires a lot of diligence and care. It is important to take great measures right from the beginning in order to avoid any future problems with damaged ballerina feet.
These types of shoes put stress on certain areas of your feet that are not normally used so frequently. The repeated pressure on these spots can cause blisters or painful callouses.
Having damaged ballerina feet will lead to you being unable to practice for a long period of time and can even force you to give up dancing entirely. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a few easy steps in order to prevent this from happening.
Foot Care To Prevent Damaged Ballerina Feet
Ballerina shoes are notorious for creating the perfect conditions for developing painful blisters and cracked heels. Every dancer has their own tricks for making ballerina shoes more comfortable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stand on your toes all day.
Unfortunately, damaged feet from dancing are a common problem among dancers. Constant friction from tight and restrictive shoes combined with high impact movements is too much stress on the soft skin of your feet.
Even as a first time dancer, there are simple steps you can take to prevent damage to your feet and extend the time before you need to see a podiatrist because of dancing. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for keeping your feet happy while you dance.
Dry Feet Before And After Class
The first step in preventing foot damage from dancers’ feet is to keep the skin dry. Since you’ll be standing in shoes that trap sweat, your feet can get very moist. The moist environment can encourage bacteria and fungi to grow (eww!), which can cause foot odor and fungal infections.
Closing your shoes with laces can help keep the moisture out, but it’s a good idea to wipe your feet down before and after class. You can use a paper towel and a gentle soap to get the sweat off your feet. Dry feet are happy feet, and happy feet are less likely to get injured.
Use The Right Shoe Care Products
Ballet dancers frequently use mixtures of alcohol and essential oils to keep their shoes clean and smelling fresh. While it’s true that alcohol can kill germs, it also dries out and weakens the leather in the shoe.
So unless you want to kill the life inside your leather shoes, it’s better to go with something less harsh. Masking odors with perfumes might be a good idea, but it won’t do much for the health of your shoes. Instead, go with a mild detergent like Dr. Bronner’s. Cleaning your shoes regularly will help keep them fresh and bacteria-free. You can also use a leather balm to keep the leather hydrated and prevent cracks.
Go Light On The Foot Stretching
Foot stretching is a common practice in ballet, but it’s not for the feet. It’s for the shoes! The logic behind stretching your feet is that it will help squeeze you into the correct shoe size. It’s true that when you stretch your feet, they’ll grow wider. But this change happens far below the skin. Your skin remains the same size, but the rest of your foot gets bigger.
This creates a painful and unhealthy environment for your the soft tissue of your feet. If your foot swells at all during a pointe class, you should immediately stop the stretching. Foot swelling is a normal and natural response to activity, but it’s important to let it go down before you start squeezing your skin against your growing bones.
Monitor Your Shoes For Irritation
This is an important step that dancers frequently skip. If you notice your shoes are irritating your skin, you can deal with it right away.
If you wait until you have a full-blown injury, it will be much harder to treat. Take a moment to look at your shoes, and feel along the inside for any sore spots. You can also check for signs of a fungal infection by looking for yellowing in the leather or fraying at the edges. If you notice any of these signs, try adjusting your pointe shoe fit or switch brands entirely.
Try Foot Creams And Ointments
If you’ve made it this far and you still have damage on your feet, it may be time to bring out the big guns. Dancers often have to visit podiatrists for hygienic foot wipes, foot creams, and ointments that can’t be purchased over the counter. But you can get a head start on treating your damaged feet with a foot cream or ointment. These treatments are
ideal for soothing irritated skin and killing bacteria. They’ll help prevent your foot damage from getting worse, but they aren’t a substitute for good foot care. If you use foot ointments and creams, make sure you follow up with foot wipes to keep bacteria away.
Blisters are common among dancers, and they’re often the first sign that you need to change your foot care routine. To avoid foot damage from dancers’ feet, make sure you keep your feet dry, use the right shoe care products, go light on the foot stretching, and monitor your shoes for irritation.
Dr. Bronner’s is a great choice for cleaning your shoes, and you should use foot creams and ointments to treat your damaged feet. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to prevent foot damage from dancers’ feet and extend your dancing career!