If you’re a dancer, keeping your feet in great shape should be a top priority. Considering that they contain over 52 of your body’s 208 bones, your feet are an essential and complex part of your body. After all, injured feet can wreak havoc on your ability to balance, leap, twirl, and perform all your dance moves with grace and precision. Your feet as a dancer are like a car’s engine for a race car driver. You simply can’t get anywhere without them. In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at some of the key ways you as a dancer can help keep your feet working properly and feeling their best.
Foot Care 101
Dancers should be proactive when it comes to foot health. The following are some of the most vital steps you can take to keep your feet in great shape for dancing. Let’s start by considering your footwear.
1. Choose quality shoes designed for whatever type of dance you are performing.
A runner wouldn’t take to the track in flip flops. Doing so would be absurd. So make sure you always wear the correct shoes for whatever type of dance you’re involved in. Only use well-made shoes. Cheaply made shoes may be less expensive at first, but they’ll wear out more quickly and need to be replaced more often, canceling out any supposed savings. They’ll also be more likely to damage your feet than a top-notch pair from a reputable brand.
2. Always include padding inside your ballet shoes.
If you’re going to dance en pointe in ballet, always remember to add either wool or gel toe pads to the toe box inside your ballet shoes. If you skip this step, you run the risk of hurting your feet.
3. Switch back and forth between two pairs of ballet shoes.
Purchasing two pairs of ballet shoes so you can wear them every other day is a smart idea. That way you can allow any moisture in your shoes plenty of time to dry between wearings. Keeping your shoes dry is a good way to prevent foot fungus.
4. Use arch bands for greater support.
Wrapping arch bands on your feet beneath your ballet shoes is a smart way to keep your feet from developing tendonitis or other injuries. If you already have an injury, you’ll want to keep the arch bands on even when you’re not performing or practicing.
5. Get professional help to find the right shoe fit.
Go to a store that specializes in ballet shoes. Your instructor can most likely help you find one in your area. They’ll be able to carefully measure and inspect your feet to ensure that your shoes are ideal for your foot size and shape. Skipping this essential step could lead to the purchase of an ill-fitting pair of ballet shoes. Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly can lead to a whole host of complications such as excessive blistering, calluses, and ingrown toenails.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of proper footwear, we’ll turn our attention to some other foot care advice in our next article in this series.