After a long afternoon of dance rehearsals, your legs and feet need a bit of TLC. Relieving pain after pointe work is a good idea, so take some time to take care of your feet and lower legs in particular.
1. Remove your pointe shoes and let your feet recover and breathe with no covering for a few minutes. Have a nice, comfortable pair of shoes ready to wear like thongs in summer or ugg boots in winter.
2. If you have time, soak your feet in a warm solution of epsom
salts, or warm, salty water. You can multitask by soaking and
eating your meal, soaking and doing your homework or soaking
and watching television. After a long day of dancing, gravity
inevitably pulls ﬂuid down to your feet. Elevating your feet to just
above your heart can be really relaxing and can return that
accumulated ﬂuid to the rest of your body.
3. Massage your toes, feet and lower legs nightly with a little
arnica cream, to alleviate bruising. Massage the toes, metatarsals,
balls of the feet, arch, under the heel, achilles tendon and ﬂexor
hallucis longus tendon (the fhl tendon starts just below the middle
of the calf bone nearest the back of the leg, running down the
back of the calf to the side of the ankle and into the foot down to
the big toe.) Self massage using reﬂexology techniques can be very
soothing. Use your thumb, index and middle ﬁnger to rotate each
toe in a circular fashion. You can also make a ﬁst and rotate it
slowly over the bottom of your feet. Lastly, gently twist each foot
in a wringing motion, moving the top and bottom in opposite
4. Using a foot roller or massage ball under your arches is an ideal
way to relieve plantar fasciitis, or just tired, achy feet. There is a
hot/cold foot roller on the market which is very soothing. The
action of rolling your feet out relaxes the muscles and eases the
5. Finally, the human body was not designed to wear shoes and
particularly not pointe shoes! Try to incorporate some barefoot
time into your schedule at home, or do some yoga positions that
press the soles of the feet into the ground to release the tension.
Finally, you must remember that if you are working correctly as a result of quality training and your feet are strong, the less pain you will experience in your feet. I strongly recommend that you use the ‘My Beginner Pointe‘ program as a supplementary program to your current pointe training, no matter what level of dancer you are. The three stages in this extensive program are designed to teach pointe work correctly from the outset, or alternatively retrain and improve your current technique.
Written by; Vicki Attard