As a dancer, your feet take plenty of abuse, so they may not truly ever be quite “happy.” But if you stay on your toes when it comes to proper foot care, you can avoid having to put your feet up for any significant amount of time. That starts with the basic maintenance steps we listed in this post and also includes taking especially good care of blisters.
Blisters are pretty much unavoidable for dancers and can be particularly common when you’re breaking in new pointe shoes. But they can also affect dancers with other types of footwear: soft ballet shoes, hard tap or character shoes or even jazz shoes can cause bothersome blisters.
While blisters can occur anywhere, they pop up most often in three places: the heel, borders of the metatarsals, and surfaces of toes. Even the tiny blisters can cause a lot of pain, but don’t think treating them is a one-size-fits-all deal. The best way to respond actually depends on the color and type of blister.
If a clear blister is not accompanied by broken skin, you will want to use a sterilized needle to pop it, so the liquid can drain out. (If the skin is already broken, you will not need to take that step.) Do not remove the loose skin; instead, cover the popped blister with a sterile strip and some athletic tape. If the skin begins to tear, remove the loose skin with a pair of sterile scissors, and then cover the area.
Don’t pop these! Red colored blisters are filled with blood and should be allowed to heal on their own. Instead, simply cover the blister with a sterile strip and athletic tape. With this kind of blister, patience will definitely pay off.
Regardless of the type of blister, if the blister causes you pain, you need to respond. Cut out a shape larger than your blister from a piece of moleskin; then cut out a hole in the middle of it, about the same size as your blister. (That open circle will prevent your shoe from rubbing against the blister surface until it’s healed.) Remove the backing and stick the moleskin pad to the area of your foot surrounding the blister.
As we’ve already mentioned, blisters are common with new shoes. However, if you have frequent problems with blisters even with your regular shoes, you may want to have someone check the fit of your dance shoes. Perhaps you could choose a different style that would be a better fit for your foot.
To help you provide for your foot-maintenance needs, you should keep the following supplies in your dance bag:
• Athletic tape
• Band aids
• Extra elastic
• Extra toe pads or lamb’s wool
• Foot roller or tennis ball
• Mole skin
• Nail Clippers
• Needle and thread
• Pair of scissors