Learning to dance en Pointe is an exciting part of the career of any Ballet student. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Dancing en Pointe can be uncomfortable, and even painful, because our bodies are not meant to take on these positions. But, with the proper care and practice, dancers can protect their feet and legs from injury. Here are some tips for caring for your feet while dancing en Pointe.
Walk around. After class, take off your shoes and walk around the room barefoot to cool down your feet and loosen them up. As you walk, feel for any abnormal pain. Walking around normally will help your feet adjust so you won’t continue to walk with your feet turned out.
Roll your muscles. Stand at the bar with your feet in parallel. Or get a can or foam roller and lay in horizontal position. Roll through your demi-pointe a couple times, take a couple of plies, and a couple of tendus. Rolling helps to break up adhesions in the muscle.
Massage your feet after class. Start with your toes, since they will probably be hurting the most after your pointe class. Work your way through the balls of your feet, arches and into your heel. Rub with a cicular motion and dig gently with your fingers to massage tendons, ligaments and muscles.
Soak your feet. After you loosen up your feet, put them in warm, salty water to relax them. Massage them again while in the water to help with soreness. Leave them in the water for a while.
Use lotion. After your feet soak, pat them dry and rub some lotion on them. Choose an all-natural lotion with aloe vera or other soothing or healing herbs. Arnica cream can be used on bruising.
Gently stretch your feet. Massage and bend your feet and toes forward and back to get them moving and increase blood flow. Wiggle your toes and tap out a rhythm with your big toe to restore the movement in your toes and feet.
Prepare. As soon as you get home from class, it’s important to begin preparing for you next class. Work on strengthening your feet and ankles so that your next class is less painful. The stronger you are, the easier your pointe classes will be.
Pointe classes can be difficult, but with proper care and maintenance, your feet will get stronger and your pointe skills will get better!