Blisters are like irritating little sisters. While they aren't truly traumatic or career-threatening, for ballet dancers, they can be an almost constant annoyance, continually nagging at your toes with pinches of pain.
So what's a bunhead to do? Toe pads help, but there's more to blister care than stuffing your pointe shoes full of padding.
1. Get fitted by a professional. Feet change over time, so if you suddenly have blisters popping up, last year's maker may no longer be right for you.
2. Before putting your shoes on, dab vaseline onto vulnerable spots like bunions or hammer toes to reduce friction.
3. Wear tights made of wicking materials to absorb sweat.
4. Don't smoke! Tobacco weakens the skin.
5. Once you get a blister, safely lance it, then air it out overnight. Put antibiotic ointment and a donut-shaped moleskin pad on it before wearing shoes in the morning. If it's still painful, you might consider cutting an X in your pointe shoe at the trouble spot to relieve pressure.
These tips are from Josie Garthewaite's excellent article in Pointe's August/September issue. Any bunhead who has trouble with blisters should read the entire thing.