Are your ballerina feet screaming for relief? Do you ache after dancing or from standing all day? Are your toes purple from blisters? If so, you’re not alone. Many dancers experience the same issues with their feet. Until recently, many dancers hid their painful and disfigured feet by using special stockings underneath their pointe shoes to avoid detection.
However, heat build-up, moisture, friction and pressure can all lead to calluses, blisters and even broken bones in any dancer who puts strain on their feet. Luckily, with a few precautions you can protect your ballerina feet and continue to dance without pain.
Here are some tips to protect your ballerina feet:
5 Ways to Protect my Ballerina Feet?
Every ballerina will tell you the hardest part of being one is keeping your feet healthy. Going through pointe class after pointe class, rehearsal after rehearsal and performance after performance takes a toll on your feet.
But with the right precautions, you can keep those pins from getting too sore or breaking down. Your feet as a ballerina are your strongest asset as well as your most vulnerable.
If you’re thinking about joining the wonderful world of ballet and training to become a professional dancer, you probably know that dancing on your toes is hard on your feet. The more intense the dancing routine is, the more likely it is that you will begin to experience pain in your feet.
Keeping them at peak shape requires constant vigilance and careful attention to detail when it comes to foot care and hygiene. Here are 5 tips for protecting those sensitive ballerina feet:
1. Always wear the right shoe
Ballet shoes are not everyday shoes, and therefore require special care. Before you even think about pulling on a pair of ballet shoes, you need to make sure they are the right ones. The shoes you wear will have a direct impact on the health of your feet, so it’s crucial that you choose wisely. If you don’t have the right shoe, your foot can move around inside, get bunched up, and cause painful blisters or even more serious problems like broken toes.
Ballet slippers are meant to fit snugly so that they support the foot and promote good posture. Make sure you have a proper fitting when you buy your shoes, and have them resized as you grow. If you have custom-made shoes, make sure you are using the correct amount of break-in time. During this period, be careful not to push yourself too hard and break down the shoes too quickly. If a shoe does not fit properly or causes you pain or discomfort, immediately take it off and replace it with one that does not cause any harm to your foot.
2. Ensure you have a good fit
Ballet slippers are meant to be snug, but not overly tight. A good fit will support your foot, while leaving a bit of room for the foot to expand as your muscles warm up. It is critical that the fit of your shoe is right. If the shoe is too loose, you risk putting too much stress on your toes, which can lead to pain, bunched-up toes, and even broken toenails or broken toes. Tight ballet shoes, on the other hand, can lead to circulation issues and problems with your arches. Make sure you get the right fit for your foot type. If you have a high arch, don’t get normal pointe shoes, and if you have a low arch, don’t get demi. These two types of shoes will put more pressure on the wrong parts of your feet, causing you pain.
3. Make sure you are well-hydrated
Water is essential to human life, but it is just as important to a dancer. Being hydrated is essential to keeping your muscles strong, which in turn will help with posture and foot strength. Dehydration can lead to cramps, pulled muscles, and even broken toes. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water before, during, and after class. Water is your best friend when it comes to keeping your feet healthy. You should also try to avoid wearing shoes without socks as this can lead to sweaty and smelly feet.
4. Don’t wait until you’re sore to stretch
It’s easy to wait until you’re in pain to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, this usually means you’ve waited too long and now have a more serious issue that will take longer to heal. Make sure you stretch both before and after class. While it may be tempting to just dive in and get the rigorous workout over and done with, you will be putting your body under even more pressure and creating more damage to your feet with rushed and unprepared stretching. Stretch both your calves, your hamstrings, and your arches to protect and support your feet. Make sure to breathe while you stretch as this will help you relax and get deeper into your muscles.
5. Take occasional foot care breaks
Dance is a physically demanding sport, and your feet are under constant stress. Even if you’re not dancing, your feet are under pressure just from being in shoes. Break up the pressure on your feet and give them a rest by taking care of them. Take a break once a week and do a foot soak. You can use Epsom salts, baking soda, and lemon juice for a natural foot soak. Alternatively, try using a foot scrub for an invigorating experience. Make sure to also give your feet a break from shoes once in a while as well. Take a break from your pointe shoes every now and then to give your toes a break from the pressure.
Your feet are the foundation of your body and the ballerina. They are under a lot of pressure and strain, so it is important to take care of them so you can continue to protect and build upon that foundation for years to come. The tips above will help you take care of your feet so they can protect you for as long as possible and allow you to dance for years to come.