Ballet Pointe Shoes - Pain Starting En Pointe

by Charlotte

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Pain Starting En Pointe


So a few weeks back my dance teacher said me and my friend are finally able to go en pointe! I was so excited as I've been dancing for 8 years! So yesterday, me and my friend went with our mums and our dance teacher and brought a pair of pointe shoes. Both my dance teacher and the woman in the shop (who I buy all of my other dance shoes from) said they were a good fit and when my teacher made me go en pointe in the shop it felt fine. When I got home and was practicing, though (our teacher told us to), the pain increased greatly and it was completely unbearable! I wear toe pads or 'ouch pouches' as you call them, and this morning I tried taping my toes with medical tape you can buy in chemists and the pain eased a fair amount and I was able to survive through a few more practice exercises. I have my first pointe class tomorrow and I will be the youngest one there by a reasonable margin (3 years at the least) so do you have any tips I could have for making the pain less intense?

Thanks x


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Pointe Shoes - Pain Starting En Pointe

ballet pre-pointe
Remember, just like I did before I went en pointe, ballet students MUST take responsibility for their own strengthening prior to beginning pointe work.
Australian dancer, Lisa Howell has made a video which explains how pre-point strengthening works.
Don't leave it to your teacher!
You can watch this pre-pointe video
yourself here
(just wait for the page to load up then the video is on the top right of the page).

Hi Charlotte,
Thank you for your message, it is super to hear you have pointe shoes now - well done! But I am sorry to hear about the pain you are having. Firstly, don't worry there is always a reason or solution to the pains in ballet so I will work with you now to solve this!

I trust that you have the pointe shoes fitted correctly, because the process you went through sounded almost perfect having your teacher there with you and going back to a dance shop you are familiar with.

It can depend on several factors to why the pointe shoes are suddenly causing you so much pain. To start with, a lot of the pain in pointe shoes can come from the technique of how you practice in the shoes. It is easy to 'sit' straight in the pointe shoes without engaging your whole leg muscles to help you rise onto pointe. This will put more pressure on your feet.

You should begin to slowly learn the tips and techniques during your pointe class, but be sure to look at the video above where Australian dancer, Lisa Howell, explains how pre-point strengthening works. It is crucial you are learning to dance on pointe correctly, which can prevent any pain or future injuries.

Also, brand new pointe shoes are mostly always more painful then when you have worn them a few times in class. They are hard, unshaped to your foot and painful at first! That could be why your teacher told you to practice in them, so you have the chance to break them in before your first lesson.

I don't know if I would advise too much practice and rising up onto pointe by yourself without having a few pointe lessons first, especially if it is causing you pain. However, it would be more beneficial for you to wear them around the house with bare feet and a snug pair of slippers or socks over the top. Just simply walk around the house, like you usually would, and gradually your feet will perspire enough to let the pointe shoes soften slightly to mold into the shape of your foot. This will allow the pointe shoes to become more comfortable and fitting to your foot.

Still, sometimes, my feet feel pain from my pointe shoes. When I get particular pressure points, or painful areas, I like to ice my foot to relieve the pain. It works for me, but nothing can help more than rest and make sure you have comfortable outdoor shoes too.

Let me know if the pointe shoes are still causing pain. Thank you for the photograph too - they sure do look like a pair of beautiful new pointe shoes!

Best wishes,

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