A Step Ahead
You know, there is a lot of truth in the idea that an army wins battles through its feet. And every dancer knows just how important his or her feet are!
I wish that I had known when I was working that the damage I was doing would keep me up writing blog posts at 4 and 5 am due to the pain in my feet. Don’t make the same mistake I did and overlook your feet because they aren’t your money maker—in reality, they are, and they will be most of your life. Even if you change occupations, you’ll need to stand in most careers for at least some period of time!
Women often wear six inch or higher heels, and those just destroy our delicate arches. And all dancers are on their feet all day and night long!
So what can you do to care for them?
First—unless your club requires you not to, move to a lower heel. They can help to make your legs look more feminine, and they will add years to your pain free life.
Then, trust me, learn this one lovely word: Massage. Massage can work on the plantar fascia and help it to relax. It won’t cure what ails you, but it will make it easier to live with.
Podiatrists are your friend. Start early on with a great foot doc, and do as he says. If heels are part of the requirement for your job, what does your doctor recommend the other hours of the day? Should you wear inserts? Perhaps you’ll have some exercises prescribed.
Change shoes often. Take a few pair to work, and switch them out. Even though they might all be tall, giving your feet even a slight change can help. When you are home, have at least two pair of great shoes with good arches.
Don’t go barefoot. This sounds counter intuitive, since all you want to do is get out of shoes after a shift. But we have to remember that dancers are in a terrible shoe for 6-10 hours at a time (sometimes more!) Your foot needs that good solid arch and some cushion the rest of the time!
When you exercise, choose something low impact. You get enough impact on your feet at work. Try swimming or cycling, and let those feet rest while the rest of your muscles work!
Watch the reviews of the places you get pedicures. Be sure the shop is maintaining sanitary practices. The last thing a dancer needs is an infection in her feet or nails! Blech! No time for that!
Soak your feet in Epson salts, they make lovely ones now that smell of lavender, and use a good sports cream to warm them up.
Love your feet, they are the only pair you’re going to get!