Ballerinas look graceful and elegant as they pirouette across the stage. They seem to dance effortlessly, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ballet dancing is exceptionally athletic and involves intense effort using every muscle in the dancer’s body. Above all, a ballerina’s feet take the brunt of the strenuous exertion involved in ballet dancing. All the leaping, running, turning, and balancing takes a heavy toll on their feet, especially when you factor in the hours of practice to get the perfect form and fix incorrect pointe posture. After all, the performance you see is the result of months of grueling rehearsals.
Ballerinas wear ballet slippers called pointe shoes. During certain ballet moves, they balance on the tips of the toe of the shoe. Unfortunately, this puts all the ballerina’s body weight on their toes, causing a host of foot problems including bunions, calluses, corns, and blisters. These conditions may become so bothersome that ballerinas will attempt to cut off the affected areas of their feet with razors to get some relief. However, things like bunions affect the bones of the feet and can’t be removed by a razor.
Considering that ballerinas spend four to six hours a day in pointe shoes, it’s no wonder that their feet take quite a beating. In addition, classical ballet dancers need to feel the floor as they dance, so their leather or canvas slippers must be snug and somewhat on the thin side. Pointe shoes are often soft and don’t have much cushioning. Ballerinas usually try to harden their ballet slippers with furniture polish and stuff the toes with cotton wool to protect their feet.
Ballerina’s feet are subject to a plethora of injuries, including:
In all cases, cutting your feet with a razor is a poor substitute for proper foot care by a podiatrist or an orthopedic doctor who’s an expert in sports and dance medicine. Located in Northern Illinois, with convenient offices in Chicago and Park City, Dr. Lisa Schoene is well-versed in dance medicine, having extensive knowledge, experience, and techniques to treat dancers suffering from issues with their feet. If you’re a ballet dancer, resist the urge to take matters into your own hands, as you can cause more damage to your feet.
Please feel free to contact Dr. Schoene at Gurnee Podiatry & Sports Medicine for a thorough evaluation of your foot conditions. She’ll examine your feet and then develop a treatment plan to alleviate your pain and treat your symptoms so that you can get back to dancing ballet. Remember that cutting your feet with razors can do more harm than good. Leave the treatment of your feet to a seasoned professional. When you’re under the care of Dr. Schoene, your feet will be in good hands.