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Apr 5, 2010

Pointe Shoes, Bunions and Blisters



First off, this article is dedicated to an anonymous writer who requested that I write an article about pointe training. Thanks for giving me an idea anonymous person!


You finally get to buy your first pair of pointe shoes! Pretty exciting right? After years of watching the older ballerinas turn in their satin and wooden shoes you dreamed of doing the same. But with pointe shoes comes a lot of other not-so-pleasant things.

Bunions:

Bunions are common among dancers but may signify that you are wearing the wrong model of pointe shoe. I didn't use to have bunions but a pointe shoe fitter put me in a type of shoe that was too narrow for me. (This is back when I still had little experience with pointe shoes) For a fair amount of time, my metatarsal
area was what was supporting me in the shoe. This is NOT what you want! After that my bunions grew to be HUGE. Not good.
ALWAYS make sure you're in the right shoe and try to get fit by someone experienced and someone you can trust.

Blisters:

Blisters are also really common among dancers and are normal. Some tricks that many girls use to pad their feet is using tape like the package shown on the right. It is Nexcare Absolute Waterproof tape. I love it and use it all the time and it's cheap! You can find it at your local pharmacy, Walgreen's, Hannaford, Wal-Mart and Rite Aid.
Another thing you can do is: cut out pieces of moleskin and stick them on top of your blisters to pad your skin from the friction between your foot and the shoe.

  






Callous

Callouses are just tough patches of skin. It's not much to worry about! Many dancers prefer to have them because it toughens up your skin and reduces the risk of blisters.

Some other common dancer injuries are:
Tendinitis
Fractures
Sprains/Strains
Pulled Muscles

Be aware of your body and know when something is too much. You don't want to end up with any of the injuries above!

I have had two fractures in the past, both in my left foot. At times the pain was bearable and other times it was excruciating.
Check in with your doctor often and be sure to refer to them before going en pointe, just so you can make sure your body is ready.

Be careful with your body, after all you only get one.

Ballerinablogger~

32 comments:

  1. As a dancer I need to be advised that be aware of your body and know when something is too much. You don't want to end up with any of the injuries above, please write some more tips for a hip hop dancer and also for an ideal shoes, I normally use trainers shoes.

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  2. Hmm, I'm not a very experienced hip-hop dancer. Actually, I really know nothing about hip hop!
    But I do know about taking class and I would advise that you ask your teacher about what shoes would be the safest/most comfortable to wear. If your teacher doesn't have any advice for you then there are plenty of online forums for all types of dancers. A little Googleing should do the trick.
    Ballerinablogger~

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  3. gross! no i kinda regret going on pointe...

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  4. Hi guys this publish is so nice.

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  5. Wooow.. I like to much this topic en special about dancer,I need to be advised that be aware of your body and know when something is too much. Thanks for the information..

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  6. Hi! i am 13 years old and have only been dancing for about a year but i am in love with it!!! my teacher said i can get my pointe shoes but am i ready? i dance 6 hours a week and am in interfoundation. thanks for all the great advice!!!

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    1. ok, im not an expert, but i do dance. At my studio you need 3 years of dance to start pre pointe, and another 1-2 years of that to get to pointe, i dont know your situation, you may be an exception.
      however, i do recommend some special exercises and such, not only wil it decrease your chance of injury, but it will also make it much easier. here is an awesome link for pre pointe practice.
      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070719002659AA7Ejul

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  7. Hi hun! Well, honestly it's quite hard to tell because it depends on bodytype/strength. I would check with your doctor first and they'll tell you if it's safe to go on pointe. I had a friend in my ballet class when I first went on pointe who got her first pair at a younger age than the rest of us and ended up with tendinitis. So be careful but if your doctor says that you're ready then GO FOR IT! Thanks so much! :)

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  8. Thank you so much!!! i will! PS: great website and advice!

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  9. They are very stylish and fresh looking.

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  10. Nice post. We are impressed by your clear description of your topic.Thanks for the information.Keep on writing.

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  11. Wearing the right kind of shoes is very important. Go roomy and comfortable. Pick shoes that have a wide toe and skip those with high heels or pointed toes. Also, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions. I use SmartToes Toe Stretchers for bunion treatment and hammer toe treatment. The unique design helps straighten and align your toes and feet and provide relief for bunion and hammer toe.

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  12. Hi I'm also 13 years-old and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to get en pointe, but I need to ask my dance teacher, I really nervous because I don't want her to tell me that I'm not good enough or something I would be crushed, have any advice about asking a teacher? Also can you post some tips on what it takes to get en pointe like foot arches, certain moves, strength and exercises? I would really appreciate that.
    Btw i this is my 3rd year of ballet and i dance for 2 hours and 3 minutes a week.

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  13. Teachers are there to help you, or most of them at least. Usually if they tell you you're not ready for something they will give you excersizes to help fix the problem and build up strength and/or flexibility. PS you must also be sure that Pointe is actually something you are prepared to go through. Are there girls in your class who are en Pointe?

    Oh, and thanks 4 the honesty, ballerinablogger. I am used to the pain of my Pointes but I have HUGE (and rather ugly) bunions and bone spurs. They don't hurt, and I guess my feet are naturally bony and misshapen (looking at my Dad's, anyway) but as I said they are really really ugly. Any tips for getting rid of bunions? Anyone? Is it possible to get rid of bone spurs without undergoing surgery?

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  14. Hi I am 12 years old and i have been dancing for 1 year i am in grade 3 and i feel like its too easy what should i do should i ask to go up a grade or two for next year? also what are some simple exercises to prepare for pointe. :>

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    1. if you go on youtube there are lots of foot strengthening for pointe

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  15. Thankyou this is very helpful I am 14 years old and have been on pointe for a year and a half now and I think I have bunions developing but this website has really helped me!! :)

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  16. Thanks for the advice and information! :) I am 16, tall, and fairly flexable & strong and growing more so. I have narrow feet, and I wear 9/10 street shoes. How would that affect going en pointe, if any? I have past dance experience, but I'm not taking classes at this moment. Starting back, hopefully soon, and hoping I can catch up again and get en pointe rather quickly. I work on ankle strength/flexibility at home with therabands and barre work, as well as other physical dance training on my own (I'm perfectly safe, my mom is a certified personal trainer!), so I'll be more capable of getting in the rythm of dance again (pun not intended ;D)

    -Autumn

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  17. I'm really nervous because my ballet teacher said I'll be able to go on pointe in the fall, but I'm not even 12 yet.

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  18. Hi I am 11 years old and I have been dancing for 8 years now. I dance 7 and a half hours and a week too. I was wondering if I would be able to go on point since I turn 12 in October which is about a year after the dance season starts. I would really love to get onto point but then again I don't want to go on to early and hurt myself. If I could have a couple of opinions that would be great!!

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    1. I know this sounds kind of weird but if you haven't had your period yet, don't go up. Your bones aren't developed completely, and you can change the structure and really mess your feet up more than you would be able to if they were healthy and hardened. My dance teacher doesn't let anyone up before we've had ours for about a year or so. Pointe is great and I love it, but you always have to make sure you know enough about yourself before you go up.

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    2. Okay, I'm sure you're really smart and everything, but I really don't believe you. I don't think you have to have your period before you go en pointe. My dance teacher hasn't asked me anything like that and she said I'm ready for pointe. If I could have some proof on this topic that'd be great.

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    3. Usually it's more of an issue if the dancer is 10 or 11 but at 12 you do need to be careful. I'm 23 years old, I've been dancing for 13 years en pointe for 11 and I've been teaching for 3. You don't necessarily have to wait until you are having periods. I don't like to use that as a general rule of thumb because every girl starts at a different age. What you need to do is ask your teacher first. If she thinks you are strong enough and your technique is solid enough than you should go to a foot specialist (preferably one who has lots of experience treating dancers) and have him take some x-rays. At 12 years old your bones might be developed enough for pointe shoes, but they might not be. You need to listen to your doctor's advice. If he tells you to wait another year or two, WAIT. Otherwise you will develop serious problems later on in life.

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  19. Sorry meant to say month after the dance season starts

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  20. Hi I am 13 years old and have just gone into yr9 (not sure what this is in America!) I have been on demi-pointe for quite some time now (approx 6-8 months?) to strengthen my feet. My dance teacher says I will be able to go up on pointe in December but I am panicking a little despite the fact that I am fascinated with pointe. I know a girl in my form at school who is on pointe and has been for around 2 years, I think, and she was full of things like crocheting the platforms and stuffing them with lambs wool. Do you think this is necessary? Do you have any other ways of making pointe shoes more comfortable? Also, do you need that really strong elastic? Do you think I am ready? (Btw, I haven't started my periods, but whatever). I have broken my foot in the past and there is a lump on the edge next to my little toe. Will this make pointe more uncomfortable? Thanks.

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  21. I'm buying my first pair of pointe tomorrow!
    I'm so excited!
    I've been waiting it for 9 years!!!!!
    If you really like it, it won't hurt sooo much.........

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  22. Since this is the web and people will find this site long after previous discussions are done, I want to add some clarifying information.

    A general starting pointe to consider pointe work: three years of ballet training, at least ten years of age, and taking at least 3 classes per week. Then a teacher who has you in class currently will evaluate the other requirements, such as consistency with form and using your postural muscles correctly in and out of the studio, foot structure (yes there are a few that will be advised not to attempt pointe work due to foot shape) and foot strength. Someone asked how to ask her teacher, with nerves about being told you're not good enough etc. I would suggest, if your teacher hasn't talked with you yet about pointe, that it's probably not going to happen when you ask her. Try out the sentiment of "what skills to I still need to develop to be ready for pointe?" It opens the question of how far away it is, as well as giving you constructive feedback about what you need to focus on in class and at home to get ready.

    Next, the hocum about needing to be menstuating before going en pointe/the idea that menstruation means your bones aren't still changing shape... Kids giving kids advice can lead to a lot of misinformation on the web. Getting your period is not the entire process of puberty, it's also not a guide to where the rest of your body is along the development line. It is certainly not a requirement for pointe. Puberty lasts in females from 10-21 in most cases. Your bones are governed by your pituitary more than anything. You pituitary very indirectly effects your menarche as well. Most girls begin menstruating when they cross and stay across the 100 lb mark. And again, in this world of overe 6 billion people, many will not follow the norm, so if you got yours early or late, no need to post your private experience on the web. Bones stop growing longer when the growth plates (which produce the cartilage that bone forms within) close. If your growth plates are open, you're going to get taller. Some people's don't close until they at 19. This one is all genetics. How tall was your body trying to be, and have you taken good enough care of it to get there?

    Bone, just like all other tissues in the body, is living and respirating, which means it will die. You continue to grow new bone to replace existing bone for your whole life. This pattern of replacement is affected by stress on the bone. Exercise with some impact is a great way for those who are under 21 to build bone mass, and for us old folks to keep what we have or add a little. Things like bunions are caused by abnormal bone or cartilage growth in response to abnormal pressure. Getting a box that fits right, and not trading back and forth between pairs of pointes can go a long way in preventing this. Even waiting until you are 21 would not keep you from getting bone deformation. Going en pointe before you are strong enough though is pretty much a guarantee for breaks and deformations!

    Year 9 is 8th grade in the USA.

    Hope this is useful information to other girls trolling the web to learn all they can about pointe and get themselves ready.

    Adult, danced en pointe, then went to med school.

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  23. I have been dancing for a little over 13 years, and I have danced on pointe for 6 of those years. I have noticed that my pinky toe twists as it's shown in the picture above. I always figured that was because my foot was just structured that way. Is the picture suggesting that is an effect of a bunion? Unless I'm confused about what a bunion is, I've never gotten one (the worst I've had is a few blisters here and there, probably because I was fit by professionals from Russian Pointe, and I've used the same shoe for almost all six years). Usually my rotated pinky toe doesn't affect me much, but when my pointe shoes are dead, they rotate my toe even more while I'm wearing the shoes, which makes me think it might be pointe-shoe-caused. I tried putting a little toilet paper on the inside of my pinky toe, but it only made my feet feel squished.

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  24. what an interesting article! As a former ballet dancer, this brings up memories <3

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