English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the ...
English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the toe pad, which is inserted between the foot and toe box for cushioning, can be seen on the right foot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is a time for family, cheer, and traditions. For many people, festive ballets such as The Nutcracker are a yearly outing. Most people, however, do not understand the pain and dedication that each dancer faces- especially with their feet.

Ballerinas dance with beauty and grace, but they deal with common dance injuries such as blisters and calluses. Due to the nature of the movement of the feet in tight ballet shoes, skin rubs against the sides of the dancer’s shoes, blisters, and then heals over with thicker skin. To prevent blisters on the sides of the toes, they are wrapped with tape. Sweaty, hard working feet also mean that fungal infections and ingrown toenails are common. To prevent such infections, toenails are cut short and often. Toes are usually padded with lamb’s wool or gel inserts in order to prevent bleeding.
Especially for ballerinas who dance “en pointe,” foot pain is a part of the daily routine. Dancing on the very tips of the toes causes pressure on the joints and bones in the ankle and foot. Repetitive stress like this can cause fractures, breaks, sprains, tendonitis, torn ligaments, and neuritis. Dedicated dancers often try to hide injuries and continue to dance, causing even more complications and a shortened dance career.
So while you are watching your favorite ballet, or listening to holiday music from Swan Lake, just remember to be thankful for your healthy feet! If you have questions, please contact Dr. Andy Marso through our website, or contact the office at (414) 425-8400.

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