After 32 years of dancing ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, ballroom and Latin I know a thing or two about taking care of my feet and as I'm getting older and teaching in heels for several hours a day, it's become even more important for me take care of my tootsies. Check out these five different ways to take care of your feet and make sure to read to the end to find out my ultimate tip!
Wear supportive shoes outside of dancing.
Although this is not the most fashionable thing, I try to wear supportive tennis shoes as much as possible outside of dancing. Flats and flip flops just aren't going to cut it and can be even injury inducing. Get the right shoes you need and if you need to talk to your doc about what's the right type of shoe for you, do it!
Massage and Epsom salts go a long way.
A tennis ball is an excellent thing to have in your dance bag. There's so many muscles in the foot and having something to massage and relax those muscles is going to be critical in maintaining good foot health. We work our feet so much while we dance and contracting those muscles so we need to stretch them out in order to avoid unexpected injuries. Soaking your feet (or your entire body!) in an epsom salt bath will soothe tired muscles and aches. I try to take an epsom salt bath at least once a week to help with soreness and it's just nice to treat yourself and relax! Ahhhh....
Find the right dance shoe for you.
When you find the right dance shoe for you, it can make all the difference in pain versus dancing your best life! So how do you find this? To be honest, trial and error. Try on a LOT of different shoes. Know your own feet and how they're shaped. Once you find the shoe that's right for you, you'll be able to dance in them for hours versus just 20 minutes.
Blisters, bunions and calluses...oh my!
These nasty things can really take your dancing from hero to zero in a flash! Don't let these things fester and become a problem. Take care of them right away! For blisters, my favorite thing to use is Band-Aid's Hydro Seal Blister bandages. These provide cushion, stay still and can keep you on the dance floor much longer!
Now when it comes to getting calluses, learn to love them! They are going to toughen up your skin and help prevent blisters. So when you go to get a traditional pedicure, make sure they do NOT take off your calluses. Only file them down when they are causing discomfort.
For bruises and bunions, go see your doc. Make sure to get the care you need and sometimes that means letting a professional take a look and make a plan of action for you.
And finally, make sure to always warm up your feet before class.
The ultimate way to take care of your feet is to make sure to give them a good warm up. I typically will crunch and stretch my toes out several times to build some heat while also working my ankle. I go through an entire routine and the best part is that you can lie on your back while doing this! Reference the video above for a complete tutorial!