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Foot Care for Dancers

Both amateur and professional dancers of all ages must understand the importance of their feet and know how to give them the care and handling they need. Each foot has 52 bones and supports many times its own weight every time you take a step. The muscles and ligaments all work together, providing balance and grace every time a ballet step is taken or pirouette is performed. The amount of stress and pressure on every part of the foot—from the heel to the toe—can cause problems if they are not properly cared for.

Ballet dancers should take a proactive approach to foot care, taking care of their feet at all times and handling problems immediately as they occur. Make sure that the nails are clipped straight across and that there are no signs of infection or ingrown toenails. Calluses are a way of life for the dancer; it is a good idea to allow them to develop as long as they do not interfere with the movements of the dance. The development of the harder skin acts as a protection and helps prevent painful blisters.

Clear-colored blisters should be drained using a sterilized needle, then covered with a Band-Aid and tape. Red blood blisters should be covered with a Band-Aid and adhesive tape. If needed, use moleskin to protect any corns that develop and keep the pressure off of them so they are not so painful while practicing or performing.

Caring for your feet is the first step to being a dancer. If you pay attention to any developing problems, they can be dealt with easily and with little trouble. Many dancers who do not take care of their feet are destined to be limited in what movements they can perform. Improper foot care can lead to more serious injuries. Next to stretching, the care of your feet should be of primary importance for all dancers.

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