Ballet Pointe Shoes - Numbness and other issues

by Katherine Pan
(San Francisco, California, USA)

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Numbness and other issues

Dear Odette,

I've searched all over the internet but I can't find an answer to my problem. I've been dancing en pointe for over a year and a half, and have used the same brand and size (Tianjie, it's a Chinese brand and real cheap actually--only $20!). However, my third pair of pointe shoes, which were exactly the same as my other two pairs with the exception of the sole (my previous two were split sole), seemed to have lots of problems.

First off, all my toes would go numb and tingle every time I go on pointe for longer than five minutes. It's not the problems where just the big toe numbs, literally every single toe goes numb and tingles. That makes dancing en pointe painful.

Second, I've been getting blisters on my pinkie toes. They have blistered sometimes while dancing in my other pointe shoes, but I'm blistering a lot more than usual. I use pads in my pointe shoes, but they're a size too big. Is that a cause for the numbness or unusual blisters?

Third, the shoe on my right foot keeps coming off the heel, and when it does stay on, the pointe shoe digs in and makes the back of my heel sore.

Thanks for answering these questions!

Reply by Odette To: ­Ballet Pointe Shoes - Numbness and other issues

Hello Katherine,
Thanks for contacting me, it's great to hear from you. I can't say I've heard of the pointe shoe brand you wear, so I don't have much experience to how the pointe shoe should feel. However, since you've had problems with most of the pairs you've bought I would suggest trying another brand. I have worn the brands Bloch and Freed, which I definitely recommend if you are able to try some new pairs.

Occasionally, my big toe has felt numb before but mainly when I've been dancing for many hours as my big toe is slightly longer. I am slightly puzzled to why all your toes go numb and tingle every time you dance on pointe. A first solution would definitely be to change your padding and always get pads that are the right size for you. You can experiment with different padding and see what is most comfortable for your foot shape. Personally, I like the gel ouch pouches but you can also try animal wool or plasters to protect your toes.

When I was trying to find the right pointe shoe for my foot shape, I went through many uncomfortable pairs before I found the perfect one. I could always tell when the pointe shoe wasn't as well fitted to feet because it gave me more blisters than usual. Therefore, you should check the fitting of your shoe which could save you from blisters and always protect your toes enough with padding.

If your foot shape tends to always have the shoe slipping off the heel, then a good solution is to put a spray of water on the backs of the heels to keep them on. I always put a tiny bit of rosin or water to feel secure in my shoe, as it often feels like my heels could slip off too as I have a narrow heel. You also want to make sure you sew elastics on your pointe shoe, as well as ribbons to make sure they are extra snug to your foot.

I hope these pointe shoe tips help!

Best wishes,

Comments for Ballet Pointe Shoes - Numbness and other issues

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toes numb in pointe shoes NEW
by: Anonymous

I have recently got my first pointe shoes at the age of 13 after dancing for 3 and a half years but the pointe shoes aren't the right fit for me. when I went to get padding the lady wasn't happy at all with the pointe shoes that I had been given and said that they were way too big for me but I should be fine if I was just working on the bar. When I have been going en pointe my big toes have been going numb. I use lambswool toe pads.

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