Professional Dancer Feet Care

Simple fix for smelly feet
Simple Fix For Smelly Feet
September 4, 2016
Avoiding foot pain as a professional dancer
September 19, 2016
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Professional Dancer feet care

photo by Luis Mondragon

Using your Feet all day: A Day in the Life of a Professional Ballet Dancer

When you’re a professional ballet dancer, your body is your tool. It’s literally how you do your job. You can’t perform a classical variation with the help of a computer or learn three new pieces in one week by typing a special formula into a database. We are on our feet for all hours of the day, physically learning new choreography or going over something we’ve done dozens of times before.

In recent years, iconic and celebrity ballerinas have definitely debunked the myth that ballet is simply twirling around on your tiptoes like a princess. But we’re still far from showing the general public what we’re made of. We are athletes. And we have to make it look easy, so it’s twice as hard.

After a long day of dancing, you don’t even want to know what our feet look and feel like. Our toes are beet red from being shoved into tiny paper mache shoes. Our heels are aching from standing, our nails are bruised and falling off, our ankles are puffy and come too close and you’ll get a whiff of some extremely smelly foot odor. And this is just the beginning. Many dancers experience terrible bunions, corns, bruised toenails and other ailments that require surgery. Callouses may sound like a terrible thing to some, but for a professional dancer they work as a shield to prevent future blisters, bleeding toes and other foot care issues. Some of us need to work a second job to even make our rent, so after suffering from these conditions all day, we waitress, we bartend and we make your triple shot caramel macchiato with smiles on our faces.
When it comes to being a professional dancer, there’s no easy way out, but there are definitely some foot care routines that I use to soothe my daily aches and pains. Something that always makes a huge difference for me is a freezing foot bath. It’s like an ice bucket challenge for your feet and ankles. To set up: Fill a bucket, your sink or a plastic bin with the coldest water you can get and top with ice. Stick your feet in for 15-20 mins. You’ll feel the cold rush all the way up to our thighs and it can be extremely uncomfortable – but it works.

I also turn to various rubs, sprays, creams and of course Advil throughout the day for immediate relief. I’ve sprained my right ankle about four times and sometimes it swells and stiffens up when I’ve had my pointe shoes on for a long time.

A dancer’s life isn’t as glamorous as it appears – we suffer from pain, soreness and aching pretty much everyday. But despite all that, there’s no place we’d rather be than in the studio, sweating it out with our friends who understand exactly what we’re going through. All these struggles we face behind the scenes make those brief moments on stage extremely worth it.

Through all my posts, I hope to give dancers and non dancers alike some insights into the what it’s like being a professional dancer – smelly feet and all.