The first three steps toward caring for your dancer feet are only the beginning! Today we’ll take a look at three more all-important parts of caring for your 2 most prized possessions: after all, you wouldn’t be able to dance without them!
4. Keep an Eye on Your Big Toes
If we had to choose one part of your entire foot to be especially fastidious about, it would be your big toe. Especially for dancers who wear pointe shoes, properly protecting your big toe is a major concern. What are you looking for? Bruised toenails. If you do notice a bruised nail, the result could be that the nail falls off. And the problem is not simply appearance-related: a missing toenail could greatly affect your dance career. If you notice that your big toenail shows any signs of being black and blue, be sure to let your instructor know right away.
5. Take Care of Corns
While calluses serve a purpose, corns really do no good. Unfortunately, though, ballet dancers are especially prone to getting these uncomfortable growths between their toes. If corns become persistent, you may want to see a podiatrist and/or make sure to get a professional to help with your next pointe shoe fitting. You may be putting yourself at added risk for corns if you wear shoes without hosiery — whether those shoes are street shoes or ballet shoes.
6. Learn About Blister Care
Like calluses and corns, as a dancer, you may not be able to avoid blisters. Particularly common among those doing pointe work, blisters can also result from wearing new ballet shoes or simply from the rubbing that often comes with jazz shoes, harder tap shoes, character shoes, or soft ballet shoes. To avoid future blisters, make sure your ballet shoes fit properly. New shoes often cause blisters, but if blisters are recurring issues for you, a different size or style may be a better choice.
While anywhere on the foot is fair game for blisters, they most commonly affect the following areas:
- inner or outer border of the metatarsals
- backs of heels
- surfaces of toes
You should also know about the two basic types of blisters: clear blisters without broken skin and red/blood blisters. Paying attention to the type of blister will help you know how to care for it properly. If the blister is clear, you’ll want to use a sterile needle to pop it; then let the liquid drain. Don’t remove the loose skin, though. Instead, cover the area with a sterile strip or piece of gauze, followed by athletic tape. (If the skin has become torn, feel free to trim it with clean scissors before covering it.) If the blister is a blood blister, you do not want to pop it. Instead, simply cover it and give it time to heal on its own.
If a blister is painful, you can avoid irritating the area by creating a donut shape out of moleskin in order to prevent shoes from rubbing on the area while your blister heals; just make sure the moleskin shape is larger than your blister.
Continue reading with Part 3.