Hello beautiful people and welcome back to From The Top! Today we are adding another installment into one of my personal favorite recurring segments, and that is our Beginner Pointe Tips! Pointe is an absolute joy to begin. With all of the hard work that every dancer sews into their ballet training, the day we are able to receive our pointe shoes is always a day for the books! In everything, however, there is necessary protocol and always helpful tips to bring along with you along the way. One of the experiences that you may encounter as you first begin your pointe training, is that of sore feet. Now, this is perfectly normal as even though we have been trained immensely in our pre-pointe years and have spent hours working to build up the necessary foot and ankle strength, pointe work is still a new experience in it’s on right. It is so normal for your feet to go through a few changes as you begin your new journey. However, today we are going to do our very best to help you navigate those changes. We’ll be sharing with you a step-by-step foot routine to help your muscles recover post-pointe class, all of which ranges from speeding up muscle recovery time to preventing ingrown toenails (which, trust when we say, is something that you DO NOT want). So without further ado, let’s hop (or shall I say bourree) right into it!
Ingrown Toenail Prevention
As I mentioned above, having an ingrown toenail is one of the biggest issues that you want to try and avoid. You can probably imagine that pointe work with an ingrown toenail has got to be an extremely uncomfortable experience. So let’s stay one step ahead of the issue, shall we? After every pointe class, as soon as you take your pointe shoes and accessories off, take your index finger and gently pull the corner of your toe nails out of the crevice of the skin on each toe. Pointe can have the tendency to smush your toenails deeper into the skin, and if the toe nails stay sunken into the skin, it holds the risk of continuing to grow in that formation. So by manually taking the time to readjust them, you’ll ensure that they will continue to grow in the right direction. Though it sounds hilarious, I’ve been using this method for going on a decade now and I can say whole heartedly that it really works!
Bring In The Tennis Ball!
Now that you are presumably back home and in for the night, let’s continue the relaxation process! First things first, let’s bring out the handy dandy and oh-so reliable tennis ball and roll out our feet for the night. Not only does rolling out your feet prepare them for your class, it can also work as active recovery for your muscles, and aid in preventing the full effects of soreness. Be sure to really relax the muscles in your feet while you are rolling them out to allow the tennis ball to really work through the foot tendons to create the deepest message possible. Your feet will be in absolute heaven after this!
Ice, Ice Baby
(I can’t believe I said that…)
Let’s move right along to the next step which is something I did faithfully when I first started pointe and that is wrapping your feet in cold towels.This helps the micro-tears in the muscles of your feet (which is the reason for muscles soreness itself) repair quicker, which can help cutdown on the length of time that you could experience soreness. Just simply take two cold towels, and wrap both of your feet in them for 10-15 minutes. If you want to go for the gusto, you can even soak your feet in an ice bath to accomplish the same goal!
The next step is to take a day to let your feet rest if you can. This is completely optional and may not even be completely feasible, as I know that some of us have classes back to back, day after day. However, if you have the opportunity to give your foot muscles a break, feel free to do so as they are getting accustomed to the new experience of pointe work, all while building up their strength at the same time.
Back To Work We Go!
And for our fifth and final step in this routine, it’s time to get back into practice! Start your next day with some theraband work and releves to continue the process of strengthening your foot muscles. Though this may sound like a “hair of the dog” type of thing, nothing helps makes the body more resilient than practice! The more we use our muscles, the tougher they become, and the tougher they become, the quicker the recovery time.So much so, that post class soreness will begin to become far and inbetween. So ten reps each foot on your theraband and and 16 releves (4 in fist, 4 in coupe on the right foot, 4 in coupe on the left foot, and 4 more in first) can do the trick. Do this routine on an every to every other day basis and you’ll be on the road to not only strong foot muscles, but stronger ankles, calves and quads as well!
Thanks so much for hanging out with us today! We hope these tips have been helpful in your new pointe journey. Have a wonderful weekend and until our next blog post, remember…