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Take Care of Those Feet!

A basic rule for all dancers: 'Never take your feet for granted.' Because dancing is so much fun, sometimes it's easy to forget how much work our feet really do!

Please be aware of this basic rule for all dancers: "Never take your feet for granted."

Because dancing is so much fun, sometimes it's easy to forget how much work our feet really do, regardless of height, weight, build or age.

First, make sure your doctor says it's OK to start ballroom dancing before signing up for classes, especially the more aerobic dancing styles, like Salsa, Swing, Jive or Quickstep.

Our feet are subjected to literally tons of pressure during an active night of ballroom dancing. Containing more than 25 percent of all the bones in our bodies, the feet and ankles are working for us like the best automotive shock absorbers.

Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments! Add a vast network of nerves and blood vessels, and the foot is truly an amazing structure! Yet, like any body part, feet can become fatigued or ache.

Properly fitted dance shoes can help reduce discomfort, but occasionally you might still feel some pain after dancing. Gentle foot and ankle stretches before and after dancing often help. If mild discomfort doesn't disappear, try backing off your dance routine, perhaps an hour less during a dance party or practice. If that feels OK, then carefully notice what happens as you gradually increase floor time.

Get a medical diagnosis for any consistent foot pain.

Do not try to be your own doctor. It's not unusual for professional dancers and dedicated veteran amateurs to check in with a foot specialist at one time or another. In many cases they wish they had done it sooner rather than later, when symptoms or conditions can become more difficult to treat.

Get medical advice if foot pain becomes chronic, interferes with daily activities, or prevents you from other exercises. If you need to sit out several of your favorite dances, or you find yourself popping pain-relieving medications during or after dancing, it's time to get some help.

Dance Safely and Comfortably!

Some dancers wear customized orthotics or special shoes to keep their feet supported, protected from stress, and pain-free. Fortunately, we have some great sports medicine clinics located in the Bay Area, often associated with top universities or highly regarded medical centers.

Look for podiatrists, certified sports trainers and physical therapists who have solid reputations for working with professional dancers and other athletes. They often find ways of getting you safely and comfortably back on the floor.

Just like running, basketball, or tennis, dancing is very much a sport!

Hope to see you on the dance floor!

Cheryl

Cheryl Burke Dance Mountain View

Cheryl Burke Dance Studios are located in two California locations: Mountain View and Laguna Niguel. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on the studio "Contact Us" or the studio Facebook pages.

© 2012, Cheryl Burke Dance, LLC. All rights reserved.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Claudia Cruz March 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I never think about my feet at the beginning of dancing. It's usually at the end when I'm rubbing them! I dance salsa and that can really beat up your feet. I've never purchased "dance shoes" and usually only wear street shoes. Is there really a difference?
Birgit Starmanns April 03, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I find there is a huge difference for me....the soles of dance shoes are better for turning and spinning without getting stuck, and most of my street shoes (heels) don't have a back strap so that I fall out of them on a dance floor.
Glenna Maple July 11, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Dance shoes make a huge difference! And they are not that expensive. I wear mine for salsa, cha cha, rumba, etc. There are many styles and choices!
Elma Balboa July 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I have yet to find the perfect shoes for dancing or for Jazzercise. I need help because I love to dance, and I love Jazzercise!
Just Mom July 12, 2012 at 01:47 AM
This was a great article. I never gave much thought to dancing shoes. What is the best way to insure a proper fit? Any favorite brands?

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