So you’ve worn your pointe shoes a few times and are experiencing toe pain. You know your shoes fit but you think you could use some extra cushioning here and a little bit of padding and protection there. This is the blog post for you!
Foot and Toe Padding
There are many different types of toe pads available, but dancers need to remember their purpose is to relieve pressure, not to fill up the block of the shoe. For this reason try to avoid padding that is too thick or bulky - some padding is made from foam or silicone gel and doesn’t allow the dancer to feel the floor through their shoes. Instead, we recommend a small amount of lamb’s wool or a slim toe pad made of a very thin layer of fabric-covered gel. Dancers may also use white cotton medical tape and toe caps or toe sleeves to protect individual toes as well.
For dancers with bunions - an enlargement of bone or tissue around the metatarsophalangeal joint at the base of the big toe - or a predisposition to bunions, a gel toe spacer is recommended to keep the toe aligned and straight. For even more protection, dancers may use bunion guards or shields on their big toe. Remember, these accessories only address the symptoms of the bunion and can aid in prevention, but they don’t correct the actual deformity.
- Be sure to trim your toenails regularly, file straight across and do not file into the corners of your nails.
- Use a proper filing instrument rather than scissors or clippers. A file allows you to gently and gradually reach desired length.
- File your toenails short enough that you are able to press on the end of your toes with your finger and not feel the nails. Be careful not to file them so short that it causes soreness or inflammation.
- When cleaning your feet, remove only the top layer of hard, callused rough skin. A certain amount of hard skin is necessary to create a protective layer which aids in preventing abrasions and blisters.
- Seek professional help to remove excessive callus and corns.
- Moisturize regularly.
- Soak in Epsom salts to soften skin, relax muscles and reduce swelling.
- Keep feet clean and dry to avoid bacteria or fungus.