Health & Body
Photo by Nathan Sayers

Podiatrist Dr. Thomas Novella weighs in with tips for new and seasoned pointe dancers.

Sometimes blisters are inevitable.

If you're just starting pointe, your feet will be especially susceptible until they naturally build calluses. Experienced dancers may develop blisters whenever there's a change in their normal routine. For example:

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Pacific Northwest ballet principal Lindsi Dec tapes her toes to protect them from blisters. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.

Sally Turkel never had a problem with her feet. Tape on her big and little toes was all she needed before slipping on her pointe shoes. But when she joined Colorado Ballet as a young dancer, the new demands of company life took a toll, and blisters became a constant enemy. "I wasn't prepared for it," says Turkel, now a principal with Ballet San Antonio. "I became known as the one who always had terrible feet issues." It took a few years of experience and tips passed down from senior company members to learn how to avoid blisters.

"A blister is a sign from your body that it's time to take a step back," says Monara Dini, a podiatrist and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. "Ignoring it for too long can lead to infection, and a breakdown of the skin and wounds that ultimately take a long time to heal." Fortunately, the right foot care can help dancers speed healing, minimize pain and even avoid blisters in the first place.

Keep reading... Show less
[rebelmouse-image 19938662 is_animated_gif=false image_crop="3x2" crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/origin.jpg%22%2C%20%22thumbnails%22%3A%20%7B%22origin%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/origin.jpg%22%2C%20%2235x35%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/35x35.jpg%22%2C%20%22980x%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/980x.jpg%22%2C%20%22700x1245%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/700x1245.jpg%22%2C%20%22600x200%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/600x200.jpg%22%2C%20%221200x400%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/1200x400.jpg%22%2C%20%22600x%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/600x.jpg%22%2C%20%221245x700%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/1245x700.jpg%22%2C%20%221200x800%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/1200x800.jpg%22%2C%20%22600x300%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/600x300.jpg%22%2C%20%22210x%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/210x.jpg%22%2C%20%227360x4912%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/7360x4912.jpg%22%2C%20%22300x300%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/300x300.jpg%22%2C%20%22600x600%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/600x600.jpg%22%2C%20%22600x400%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/600x400.jpg%22%2C%20%22300x%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/300x.jpg%22%2C%20%221200x600%22%3A%20%22https%3A//assets.rbl.ms/19938662/1200x600.jpg%22%7D%2C%20%22manual_image_crops%22%3A%20%7B%223x1%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%207360%2C%20%22top%22%3A%202238%2C%20%22height%22%3A%202454%2C%20%22left%22%3A%200%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%221200x400%22%2C%20%22600x200%22%5D%7D%2C%20%223x2%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%207360%2C%20%22top%22%3A%202%2C%20%22height%22%3A%204907%2C%20%22left%22%3A%200%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%221200x800%22%2C%20%22600x400%22%5D%7D%2C%20%221x1%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%204912%2C%20%22top%22%3A%20-2%2C%20%22height%22%3A%204912%2C%20%22left%22%3A%20814%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%22600x600%22%2C%20%22300x300%22%5D%7D%2C%20%2216x9%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%207360%2C%20%22top%22%3A%20769%2C%20%22height%22%3A%204141%2C%20%22left%22%3A%200%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%221245x700%22%5D%7D%2C%20%229x16%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%202763%2C%20%22top%22%3A%20-2%2C%20%22height%22%3A%204912%2C%20%22left%22%3A%202855%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%22700x1245%22%5D%7D%2C%20%222x1%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%207360%2C%20%22top%22%3A%201215%2C%20%22height%22%3A%203680%2C%20%22left%22%3A%200%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%221200x600%22%2C%20%22600x300%22%5D%7D%2C%20%22custom%22%3A%20%7B%22width%22%3A%207360%2C%20%22top%22%3A%200%2C%20%22height%22%3A%204912%2C%20%22left%22%3A%200%2C%20%22sizes%22%3A%20%5B%227360x4912%22%5D%7D%7D%7D" dam=1 image_crop_tablet=null image_crop_mobile=null image_crop_desktop=null original_size="7360x4912" expand=1]
Getty Images

With the joy of pointework usually comes the not-so-pleasant experience of having calluses. For most dancers, the hardened patches of skin on the toes and heels come with the territory. According to Dr. Thomas Novella, a podiatrist who works with professional ballet dancers in New York City, “calluses are a natural accumulation of keratin, a protein produced by the top layer of skin to adapt to areas of pressure." Here, he shares how calluses can be beneficial to dancers, as well as when you should be worried.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox