6 Steps to Taking Care of your Dancer’s Feet

Posted by Kelly Lynne Harris on September 2, 2018

6 Steps to Taking Care of your Dancer’s Feet 

If you Google “Dancer’s Feet” you’ll find blistering, bleeding and calloused images.  Why do dancers show off painful and possibly permanently damaged feet as a badge of honor?  Feet are the foundation for all our movements, but we give them so much abuse. 

Here are 6 Steps to Taking Care of your Dancer’s Feet:

1. Stop wearing tight shoes.
We like our shoes tight to keep us on our center in pirouettes or just to make our arch look pretty; but a dancer needs to be realistic.  If your shoes are so tight that it is impossible to spread your toes on demi-pointe, then you could be doing damage.  We’ve all been frightened at some time or another when an aging ballerina removes her shoes only to reveal bunions the size of Kansas. If you are feeling stress on the outside bone of your foot, consider moving up ½ a size or purchasing bunion pads at the drug store.  If the pain is serious, you need to see a doctor.

2. Take care of cuts and blisters.
Did you know that you can die from a blister?  President Calvin Coolidge’s son, Calvin Jr., died from a blister he got from new tennis shoes. Blood poisoning happens when bacteria enters your bloodstream through a cut or tear in the skin. (I had blood poisoning and almost lost my finger once from a hangnail!)  If you take anything away from this blog, please take care of cuts and blisters.  Soak your feet in warm water and a little disinfectant soap.  Dry them completely, use a topical antibiotic cream and cover with a clean bandage.  Call your doctor immediately if you feel throbbing, see infection or have a fever.

3. Trim your toenails.
Long toenails pressing against your shoes can lead to bruising of the nail bed and loss of the nail.  Trim nails straight across, rather than trimming the edges into a curve. You should also avoid trimming them too short, since this could result in ingrown toenails or infection.

4. Wear support in your street shoes.
Take a hard look at your shoe closet and throw away those flat footed shoes.  If you just HAVE to wear those cute retro basketball sneakers, consider investing in some arch supports.  Otherwise, make your next purchase a cute pair of sneakers that have medial support.

5. Fight fungus.
Dark, damp conditions is where fungus thrives making those black jazz shoes a perfect habitat. Practicing basic foot hygiene (i.e. washing between the toes, wearing clean tights etc.) is the best way to prevent fungal infection.  If you have a mild case of athlete’s foot, use an over-the-counter lotion, cream or spray. Be considerate to your classmates and don’t spread the fungus around.  Keep your feet covered at the studio until the fungus is gone. For more serious cases, be sure to see your doctor.

6.  Show a little TLC.
Keep a pumice stone in the shower and gently remove thickened skin regularly.  A little hardness on the ball of the foot might help you turn, but huge calluses can tear off causing pain and infection. Make moisturizing part of your everyday routine to avoid dry cracked heels.Thank you for reading my blog! What is your foot care routine?  I'd love to hear from you.