This is something to consider if you’re serious about saving your feet at the social dance.
First, you need to understand that one of the most important tools we possess when it comes to dancing is our feet.
Why our feet? Well, they move us. They help us turn and make us look good, too. They are the foundation on which our dance steps rest. Whether you’re a seasoned salsera/salsero, or someone who has ever taken lessons in ballroom dance, you are familiar with that incredible high from the chemistry of dancing.
So, it is very common to hear dancers talk about excitement, laughter, happiness, pulled muscles, and probably some visits to the doctor, from time to time. It can be very easy to over-strain our feet over the course of an event. Shoes that don’t fit properly might cause blisters or even swollen feet.
This article is NOT by any means meant to be a medical or professional solution to this problem.
Instead, you’re going to read strategies that I’ve learned, both past and present, which work for me and will likely work for you, too, if you give them a try.
So, if you’re looking to rescue your feet from social dance, you’ll love this.
These are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that may work for you.
Let’s dive right in.
This one I learned from my mother. When I used to live in Honduras, I worked standing on my feet for 8 hours a day, and at the end of the day, my feet would be extremely tender.
The trick I learned from my mom is using cool water. After doing all kinds of dance moves all night long, I would wrap my feet with a towel soaked in cool water.
After ten minutes in that cool towel, most of the pain I was feeling that night would be eliminated. This is one trick that works for me every time.
Athletic (Magic) Tap
One of my good friends, Brenda, I met while taking ballroom dance classes long ago, she introduced me to this trick. She said,
“Do you know that white tape that helps to stabilize athletes? Guess what? It’s also great for your feet!”
It is a good idea to keep a roll of it in your shoe bag, just in case you need it.
If you are dying of pain but want to stay a few more hours on the dance floor, wrap some around the ball of your foot (not too tight!), and you may able to dance a little longer.
But remember to be gentle when removing the tape, because it is quite sticky! I learned this the hard way.
Good Old Stretching Before The Social Dance
This trick I learned from working out. Its always a good idea to stretch before and after working out, right? Right!
So, why not develop a good stretching exercise for your feet?
Try rolling your toes under, then stretch them the reverse way. Do ankle rolls. Give yourself a small foot massage in the
arches of your feet.
I try to make it habit to do some of these foot exercises before and after any social dance.
Oh Yeah, The Almighty Blisters
What comes to mind when you have blisters is to use a Band-aid. Of course, this one of the go-to solutions for blisters once you have them. It is always a good option.
But what if you replace the band-aids with athletic tape? Band-aids usually fall off too quickly, and then you’re back to square one.
Athletic tape stays on better, is more customizable, and otherwise offers the same benefits. It is also a good idea to put a small square of tissue paper on the affected area before applying the tape to prevent painful removal at the end of the night.
Another way to help with this issue is by putting the tape or Band-aid on before the blister develops. I usually can tell right away if a pair of new shoes will give me a blister. I go ahead and put tape on that area of the foot, that way I don’t have to worry about it the whole night long.
Avoid, under any circumstances, to pop blisters before you go dancing. The best time to do this is before bedtime so that the affected area has a chance to dry up and air out.
Trust me I know from personal experience.
The Wrong Shoe Size
One of the greatest benefits of going to the shoe store to get a new pair of dance shoes is that you can try them on and choose the right size, style, and color for you.
But, if you somehow have a pair of shoes that are slightly too big, try a full insole or a toe pad. These push your foot up and back into the shoe. I would suggest the versions with the adhesive that sticks to the shoes.
If the heel area of your shoe fits loosely, try using a heel grip. These are specifically designed to help your foot grip the heel of the shoe.
If there is an area on the shoe that always leaves a blister, put a bit of athletic tape on the shoe in that place. Sometimes this can eliminate rubbing.
All of the above are quick fixes, but nothing compares with the importance of good fitting dance shoes. Ensure the shoes fit comfortably. Make sure your foot is properly supported.
If something feels wrong when you put the shoes on, you should try a new size or a new style. Another thing that might help when selecting a pair of shoes is to put them on and do a couple of turns to see how it feels to you.
When you find yourself at any social dance, the connection between dance partners is truly an amazing experience, or at least it should be. Safety between partners, and other dancers, is extremely important, for this could make or break your dance!
Not only must you respect the limits of your partner, but also respect your own limits while executing more advanced moves. If not, you may cause unnecessary pain, and possibly even lose a dance partner.
To me, a great dance partner is someone who inspires you, challenges your skills, connects with you, and above all is considerate and respectful to you and others, leaving you wanting more dances!
So, please take care of your feet after the social dance.