More About My Story
I went to my first ballet class when I was 9 years old. A woman right down the street opened a new studio, and although my parents and I didn't know the first thing about dance, this sounded fantastic! Little did we realize, she wasn't actually a very good teacher. She put me en pointe within a year of that first ever ballet class. I was too young and had much too little training or strength. Luckily for me, I seemed to have no problems as far as I could tell. I was young, strong, flexible, and resilient, and everyone told me that pain and blisters were just a part of ballet.
So, I kept dancing. I changed studios, attended some summer intensives, performed more and more. I always had blisters on my toes, often bloody ones. I tried different pointe shoes over the years, but I never had a proper pointe shoe fitting, and my choices of brands and models at that time were pretty limited. I never gave much thought to all the pain and blisters. It was all just part of ballet, right?
As early as my twenties, I started having joint pain in the ball of my foot. It got worse over the years, and since I was by this time a PT, I knew the signs very well. I had arthritis in my toes. In my twenties. This was NOT normal. I came to realize that my very early pointe experience and the lack of properly fitting pointe shoes had caused this.
When my daughter started ballet classes, I made darn sure that she had good teachers and proper training from the get-go. It takes years of ballet classes to very gradually build the strength and flexibility needed to dance en pointe safely. When she had gone through all those years of technique and pre-pointe classes and she was finally ready for her first pair of pointe shoes, we were both beyond excited! The pointe shoe fitter was a professional who knew her stuff, and made sure my baby girl left there with shoes that fit her unique feet and skill level. What an incredible difference that has made. She has never had a blister on her toes in the 3 years she has been en pointe!
As a PT, I always loved helping people move better, function better, and have less pain. Educating people about the ways they can help themselves recover from injuries and, better yet, prevent them in the first place, was always what I considered the main part of my job. As a former dancer who now suffers from the effects of wearing the wrong pointe shoes, I know firsthand the consequences of both poorly fitting shoes and poor training. And of course, as a mom, my number one concern is for young dancers' safety.
So, here I am, offering some insights and knowledge. I plan to share tips on strengthening, stretching, finding the right shoes for differently shaped feet, guidelines for pointe readiness, and anything else I can help with on your pointe journey. I hope you enjoy my blog and find some useful information here!
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