Doing an online search for the real effects of ballet shoes on the feet will likely bring up some pretty scary images. However, it shouldn’t scare you away from pursuing ballet—it is a beautiful and expressive form of dance that can be very rewarding. If you’re a ballerina or you’re thinking about enrolling your child in ballet classes, learn more about how ballet shoes can affect the feet. You can then take proper steps to protect your feet going forward.
Wearing Ballet Shoes
Ballet shoes are designed for utility, not for the benefit of your feet. They are made of canvas and silk material with lace straps that wrap around the ankles. Each shoe shapes the toes and feet so that they can be trained in a certain formation for dancing. Ballet dancers often have to get on tippy toes at a moment’s notice to keep up with choreography, so their shoes have to support this action, just as sneakers support the quick actions of tennis players.
What Can Ballet Shoes Do to Your Feet?
Podiatrists often treat ballerinas and other dancers who have serious foot problems. Here are a few issues that can develop as a result of wearing ballet shoes:
- Hammertoes (the toes begin to bend forward, and in some cases become stuck in that position).
- Corns, calluses
- Blisters, ulcers, sores and wounds
- Bunions (the bone on the inside of the foot begins to move outward)
- Nail fungus and sometimes loss of toenails
Many ballerinas suffer these foot problems in silence, but the best course of action is to begin seeing a qualified podiatrist early in your career. Ongoing care and foot therapy can help minimize the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet.
Caring for Your Feet as a Ballerina
Treatments are available at the podiatrist’s office that can give your feet relief from the symptoms of dancing and wearing ballet shoes. Ulcers must be drained and disinfected. Hammertoes can be corrected with splints or prescribing orthotic shoes to wear when not dancing. Treatments are also available to eliminate toenail fungus. Another top goal of podiatry for ballerinas is pain management—exercises and medications can help relieve pain.
Getting help from a podiatrist is crucial if you want to reduce the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet. It’s never too late to seek help from a foot professional who understands these issues, so schedule a consultation appointment today.