Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About (Dance) Feet (But Not Necessarily Have)

I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been dancing, just know, if you keep dancing, in due time, something is bound to affect your feet. And depending on how you handle your particular situation, it can determine how quickly and comfortably you will be able to continue dancing.

How many times have you said while dancing,“my feet hurt.” If you are like most dancers, you’ve said it too many times to count. Also like most dancers, you simply ignore what bothers you and continue to dance. We just call it the “nature of the beast” or simply, you say, “I can’t stop in the middle of a lesson or training.” These are all good intentions. But believe me, your feet have the last word. Here to prove it, is a list of demons that can play havoc with your feet: blisters, calluses, split skin, corns, bunions, soreness in toes and under the balls of feet, muscle aches in feet, tendons, arches, sprains and even dirty feet. Now, let me ask you, how many of these problems can you head off by being smart and practical.

Let’s start with footwear. It is highly suggested to wear leather shoes whenever possible because leather tends to move with the foot and also let it breathe. If your shoes are too tight, it could cause pain as your foot moves against the shoe. If your shoes are too loose, it could make the muscles in your feet work too hard to keep your foot in the shoe and keep it grounded. Don’t forget to wear socks. Strong suggestion, do not dance without socks or stockings to protect your feet. There are two schools of thought regarding socks. Some people say cotton socks are always best for moisture absorption while others say, polyester blends help keep the feet dry with no perspiring at all. I will leave the choice up to you.

Once you are feeling good in your shoes (half the battle) here’s a few tips to keep from getting sprains, pulling muscles, etc. Try to warm up using dance specific movements for the feet, ankle, calves, knees and hips. Do foot stretches and muscle exercises too.

If you do sprain your foot or leg, try to keep off of your feet at least 2 to 3 days and use ice (not heat) for the swelling. Do it about 10 minutes once an hour. Also keep your leg elevated and when feeling better, follow up by stretching the foot.

A lot of dancers have problems with smelly feet and shoes after activity. Here are a few suggestions to remedy the situation. Always wash your feet with soap and water. Don’t forget to scrub your feet to get rid of bacteria (which is what causes the odor). Use foot sprays for your feet and shoes. One of the best is “On Your Toes.” It stops offensive shoe odor quickly after applying three consecutive days and only needs to be done once every 6 months. Always wear clean socks. Use baby powder or baking powder to absorb moisture. Clean your shoes often. Go barefoot whenever possible to air out your feet. There are other methods that also work well and are available online.

Remember, no two dancers’ feet problems are the same. A few tips to “dance by” can sometimes save you hours of pain. If you hurt yourself, try to get off your feet as soon as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your dance instructor for help. Don’t try to be a hero and know your limitations. Go to the doctor when necessary. A few days off your feet can save you from more serious foot problems down the road.

Lastly, here is a few tips to beautify your feet. Keep your toenails trimmed and filed. Wear nail polish for fun (optional). Use foot cream to give your feet a treat after a hard work out. Don’t forget your toes and sleep in socks to keep your feet moist from the cream you just applied and to make them extra soft. You can find lots of different kinds of foot creams at your local drug store and excellent suggestions and ideas for creams to use by doing a little research online.

Thought Of The Week:

You are a being in motion. You are evolving, changing, shedding and accumulating particles in your dance with the universe. You are beauty personified. Science of Mind July 2013 Volume 86, Number 7



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website https://slowmotiondancevideos.com/