When people think of a ballerina, they think of grace and strength. But, when they think about their feet, the picture is less pretty. Images of ballet dancers’ feet have circulated on the internet, showing just how much of a toll this style of dance can take.
We want to step in and help you protect your feet. If you’re a ballet dancer, knowing the common foot problems — and the preventive measures you can take — can go a long way. With that in mind, our team at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center has written this guide.
We also offer dedicated foot care at our offices in Laveen, Chandler, and Mesa, Arizona. If you think any of the issues we write about in this post are affecting your feet, come see us. In many cases, the longer you wait, the harder the problem is to treat.
Here are some of the most common foot problems that ballet dancers face:
When you dance ballet, your plantar fascia — which is the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to the ball of your foot — works overtime. This can lead to inflammation, which can cause symptoms like heel and arch pain, especially when using the affected foot after a period of rest. If this sounds like you, you may have plantar fasciitis, which is a common and treatable foot condition.
Your Achilles tendon is a large tendon that connects your calf and heel. If this tendon gets stressed, it can get inflamed. The resulting condition is called Achilles tendonitis. This common condition is marked by tenderness in the heel or pain or swelling anywhere along the back of the calf.
This problem commonly affects ballet dancers, especially those who dance on pointe. That added pressure on your toes can encourage the affected toenails to grow down into the skin rather than straight out. You’ll spot an ingrown toenail, because the area around the nail will usually be red, swollen, and tender.
To help prevent these and other common foot problems from occurring, be mindful of how your feet feel. While some discomfort will be normal in ballet — such as when you’re breaking in new shoes — treat your feet with care. If something hurts, take a break to allow your body to heal.
If it doesn’t improve within a few days, make an appointment with our team. In all of these cases, the sooner you catch the problem, the easier it will be to treat. And since rest will likely be a required part of your treatment plan, seeing us soon will mean less time away from your ballet shoes.
Ultimately, it’s important to check in with yourself. Don’t ignore pain or discomfort or dismiss it as normal. In fact, if you let things go unchecked, you can do permanent damage to your feet.
As a ballet dancer, you rely on healthy feet. For a team that can help you protect your ability to dance pain-free, we’re here. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.