The Perfect Pointe Book

All The Tips, Tricks And Exercises You Need To Know About Starting En Pointe

Does It Hurt?

While pointe work is not exactly like wearing slippers, it should not be painful for the beginner. There are a few reasons why dancers may get pain en pointe, and each can be easily corrected. If you are strong, have well fitting shoes, and are sensible with how long you are in the shoes, pain should not be a problem.

1) Shoes too tight/narrow. If the shoe is fitted correctly, it will be firm around the front part of the foot, but should not be squashing your toes in together too much. (Click here for tips on fitting your pointe shoes correctly).

2) Box too wide. If the box of the shoe is too wide, the foot will slide down into the box while en pointe putting too much pressure on the toes. The box should be narrow enought to support the foot en pointe, but not too tight to squash the toes.

3) Box too short. A box that is too short will often cut in under the big toe joint and may cause formation of a bunion. Always ensure that the wings come up to the level of your big toe.

4) Foot too weak. Many girls start en pointe before they are strong enough to control the foot in the shoe. It is extremely important to know how to correctly articulate the foot in the shoe, and control the line of the toes while in the shoe. The Perfect Pointe Book has lots of strengthening exercises to help you with this!

5) Rubbing of the box on your skin. If there is friction between your skin and the canvas of the lining of the shoe, you may develop painful blisters on your toes. Always ensure that there is some sort of protection on any areas of pressure as soon as they begin to avoid large blisters.

6) Shoes getting too soft. If you leave any padding in the shoe after dancing, the sweat may soften the glue of the box and soften it too much. This results in the foot sinking down too far in the shoe, and taking strain in other areas. Always make sure to dry out your shoes thoroughly between each use.

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71 Comments»

  Sheila Corbin wrote @

I have never taken pointe before and was interested in it, however there is one thing hoding me back from learning: and that is my toes stay in the pointe possition when I flex them and it is quite uncomfortable. I have bunions so would that be the cause? My toes have a difficult time returning back to the relaxed possition and it feels really awekward. Any answers or suggestions?

  sammie wrote @

well if u r having trouble the best thing o do would probly ask ur teacher cuz they wu be able to help u i hvr had truble with tht but if i did thts probly wat id do

  esmeralda wrote @

i been on pointe for about a year now but i still have trouble finding a pair of pointe shoes that last for more than 3 months is there anything i can do so they last longer?

  jessika wrote @

on discountdancesupply.com there is pointe shoe glue that you can apply to your shoe so it lasts longer.

  Kimberly wrote @

My teacher told me to put wood glue where it is getting weak… If your shank is coming apart wood glue them together and if its the wings or box you may have to apply manny coats of the glue

  Abbie wrote @

Jet glue your pointe shoes! Do this when you first get them and they’ll last a noticeable amout of time longer. 🙂 Worked for me.

  Stacy wrote @

I am going to sign up for ballet soon. But i am not flexable. So in ballet do you have to be flexable before joining to ballet or they well teach you?

  Allyssa wrote @

They help you become more flexible, but still lots of work on your part. They younger you are the easier it will me to stretch your muscles.

  Poppy wrote @

I have been taking ballet for 10 years and was not at all flexible when i started but got my front splits two or three weeks into class

  maggi wrote @

of course they will teach you when i first started ballet i wasn’t flexible at all but now i can almost do all of my splits and its a real acomplishment knowing that you can be flexible if you do it enough

  Jill wrote @

Well, your studio should teach you exercises for flexibility, but before you actually start class (which you probably have cuz this comment was left in 2009), I recommend you try to get more flexible in right and left splits, and you should probably be able to touch your toes. Hope this helps! 🙂

  Poppy wrote @

i have been taking ballet for ten years and not once have i seen someone who didnt eventually become very flexible, so in answer to your question no you do not have to be flexible.

  maggi wrote @

i have been taking ballet for about 2 years know and my teacher says i have very strong ballance and a good ankle but i moved and know im looking for a new dance studio my friend has been taking ballet for 3 months and shes already on point.do you think i should start?with her at her studio/

  Hannah wrote @

anybody who puts a girl on pointe after three months, obvously dosen’t know what there doing. Traditionally, pointe strenght is acheived after about 2 years. I wouldn’t recomend going to the same dance studio.

  Jillian wrote @

I have been dancing for 9 and a half years and I just made it on pointe. Being on pointe is a dream and kickstart of you dance career. Depending on your age, if you 11 years old and older you bones are close and done developing. Starting pointe work to early can damage your feet, you may not even be able to walk. I agree you should not go to that studio because a proper studio would not start you until you had at least 3 years of training. I have had triple the amount. I hope you made it on pointe by now.

  Libby-May wrote @

I just got my first pair of pointe shoes last week. I have very narrow feet so I had to try on about 60 pairs! Eventually the fitter found a style, size and width that was apparently perfect. I agreed as they felt quite comfy. But when I got home and put them my big toes were really hurting. I have clearstretch toe covers for padding. Is this normal?

  Adele wrote @

I’ve been en pointe for five years, and I’m not going to lie to you, dancing en pointe is painful, but it shouldn’t be excruciating. You may want to try different toe pads, (I use Ouch Pouches, and I’m happy with them). It’s also a good idea to talk to your dance teacher about the problem if it continues.

  Bella wrote @

I want to be en pointe for so long! But I am to scared to ask my teacher about it! What if she is like “Well your not good enough to be en pointe?” I don’t know! What should I do to be good enough, strengthen my ankles, and have all requirements for pointe work? I have asked friends and they don’t know what to do! I am 11 years old and all my friends are on pointe. It’s time I make a change and all the special pointe dancers and flexible girls get all the parts in dances and performances and they even get front row in class. I’d give anything to wear one and be in beginners pointe work classes. My teacher says I am really improving and that maybe I could be on next year or the year after that! But I am scared to be pointe when I am 12 or 13 because I won’t get all the experience everyone else has. I just need techniques to improve my skill. I am in extra ballet classes and do privates with Mrs. Valentina but still no pointe. Does she ask me? Do I ask her? It’s very stressful.

Thanx Bunches!

  Bella wrote @

I want to be en pointe for so long! But I am to scared to ask my teacher about it! What if she is like “Well your not good enough to be en pointe?” I don’t know! What should I do to be good enough, strengthen my ankles, and have all requirements for pointe work? I have asked friends and they don’t know what to do! I am 11 years old and all my friends are on pointe. It’s time I make a change and all the special pointe dancers and flexible girls get all the parts in dances and performances and they even get front row in class. I’d give anything to wear a pair and be in beginners pointe work classes. My teacher says I am really improving and that maybe I could be on next year or the year after that! But I am scared to be pointe when I am 12 or 13 because I won’t get all the experience everyone else has. Also my dance teacher, Mrs. Valentinais stopping all performances like Cinderella but I can also be in her company ballet line. I just need techniques to improve my skill. I am in extra ballet classes and do privates with Mrs. Valentina but still no pointe. Does she ask me? Do I ask her? It’s very stressful.

Thanx Bunches!

  Lauren wrote @

Dear Bella, I know how you feel i would love to be en pointe now but do you know why im not because this is the end of my first . year i have a good shot of being en pointe this next school year the reason i have progressed so fast is because i am 13 years old . i do take a ballet class with pointe girls but always en demi pointe . What im getting at is your commitment to ballet. i had to take a ballet class with a 6 year old when i started earlier this year but know im in a pointe girls ballet class that was hard being in that class but i worked hard you are young you have time i dont 🙂 if you work hard given that you have all the requirment just be patient and every thing will be ok as long as you work hard.i know being patient is hardi had to wait years to even be allowed to take classes. Laurie

  Adele wrote @

I know how stressful it is because I am going through the same thing. I think the solution is to just be very persistant. every time you think of how nice being on pointe would be, either do some excersizes to strengthen your feet, or thing of ways to get ready for pointe. Remember: patience is key. I had to wait five years before I was even allowed to take a ballet class. And when I did start, I was eleven and with people in the 3rd grade.

  Savannah Hull wrote @

i am almost ten and my teacher wants me to get my pointe shoes on my birthday,December 29. Do you think i am too young or not. But my teacher does say that she needs me to be on pointe just in case she needs me to fill in for someone else and they are on pointe. So back to the question. Do you think i am too young.

  Marie wrote @

Yes I think you are too young and the growth plates in your feet are not done developing until age 11 so if you get en pointe now ,you will ruin your career by injury or by BADLY misshapen feet. I hope this helped and good luck!

  Zoey wrote @

Yes you are too young. You should be at least turning 12 before you get into pionte.

  Inger wrote @

in most cases ten year olds should not go on pointe because they have much more growing to do than someone who was, say, 12. if you are abnormally big and strong pointe might be OK. your teacher sounds extremely unproffesional wanting you to risk the safety of your body so you can be a replacement for someone en pointe. I would highly recomend switching schools.

  Joanna wrote @

you shouldn’t be able to go en pointe. the ideal age is approx. 11-13 y/o. at ten your feet haven’t stopped growing. switch schools because the teacher is only using you as a prop

  ellen wrote @

i really want 2 go on pointe and i think im ready and want 2 ask my teacher but im afraid she will say”your not ready you need to be better at ballet” what do i do??

  Ambeeeer! wrote @

Try and be better at ballet haha:’) but just think of it as constructive critisism and ask as a general question like when is our class going en pointe 😉

  Adele wrote @

I am going en pointe next fall, but my second toe is bigger than my big toe.
also, does pointe work hurt? One last question. I’m looking at colleges and I’m trying to find ivy league colleges in Massachusetts with good ballet programs. Any body have any suggestions

  Marie wrote @

They do have special pointe shoes for your kind of foot which is greek type, google “tapered foot”. Pointe work just feels uncomfortable the first time, you shouldn’t be in agony, if so consult your teacher.
That’s all I can give good luck!
Marie.

  Emma wrote @

So I just got my first pair of pointe shoes and when I stand in them it hurts my big toe. I’m wondering if this is normal because they have not broken in or just if that is how everyone feels in them or do I need a bigger size?

  Sarah wrote @

Do you use toe pads? This would help and also lambswool and you can also get toe caps and toe spacers to help take some weight off of your big toes.

  Farynn wrote @

What are toe caps?

  Inica wrote @

I am in grade six and I am 13 turning 14 and I really want to go onto pointe should I ask my teacher how long she thinks? It is my dream to go on pointe please help!!! 😢

  Holly wrote @

You should start practicting releves, eleves, echappes, and pique turns at home. You also start stretching your entire body every day. This will strengthen your body and definitely improve your technique. After like 2 months of this politely ask your teacher if she thinks you are ready for beginner pointe classes.

  Jeannie wrote @

I am finish my exam in G 5 now and I am almost 11 do you think I am too young because my teacher told me to go on pointe this August and I am not too confident myself…

  Sarahlily wrote @

hi jeannie. If your going on pointe your age doesn’t matter so much as your size and strength. If your body is small, the plates in your feet are probably still developing and could be seriously damaged by going en pointe.However, I have seen many people go on pointe at age 11 and not be injured at all. To be strong enough for pointe, the muscles in your shins should be firm and strong.Your readiness for pointe also depends on how long you have been dancing. The rule of thumb is to have been dancing for a minimum of two years(you should be at an intermediate or advanced level) and at least one of those years should be ballet. If you are too shy to confront your teacher about the situation and would like to begin pointe, I recomend doing a lot of releves and piques at home. it is also a good idea to do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles, as the help you hold yourself up on pointe. Good luck

  Joanna wrote @

i have finished my grade 5 exam too and i am getting my pointes on thursday. i am 12 this year and i am also pretty small… if you are confident then you should be ready. i have a friend who is going to go en pointe soon and shes doing her grade 4 exam. you should do lots of feet exercises e.g. rises and releves..core work and turnout stuff and you should be fine.

  Eleanor w wrote @

I got my first pair of pointe shoes today and I am really excited. My new shoes feel good and they look great too. I’m just a bit worried about blisters but if I find out where it blisters on my first lesson I can tape up those toes for the future lessons

  Paige wrote @

I’m pretty sure you can… There are also these things called pinky pads and they’re elasticity. I’m not on pointe but my friend is and she wears them. Hope I helped!

  Paige wrote @

Sorry this is a bit late and I forgot to say something… The pinky pads can go around any toe and are used in areas where there are blisters. I hope you have found a solution to that problem. Good luck!

  Paige wrote @

I really want to go en pointe but I do not know if I’m ready I’m 12 and can bearly do the splits… I’ve done ballet for 3 years and I’m on my 4th. Please advise!

  Sabriel wrote @

Pointe is based on the strength in your feet and ankles, so you should do excersises to strengthen them(releves, forced arches, etc…). If you are unsure if you are ready for Pointe, ask your teacher. Remember, you’re not going to become ready unless you practice at home. I recommend incorporating doing around 50 releves every night into your night routine. I did this and it really helped me. If you feel that you are not advancing at the rate you want even if you are practicing at home a lot, you should probably consider switching studios. As for the splits issues, I would recommend buying Lisa Howell’s Front Splits Fast program. Just remember though, splits and pointe are unrelated, so its likely that you will be able to do splits before pointe or vice-versa. Also, neither change will happen over night; they both take time. Good luck!

  Paige wrote @

Thanks you helped so much Sabriel!

  sabriel wrote @

glad to be of service.
I actually realized that I forgot to mention an important aspect of preparation for pointe: core stability. That is the strength your core muscles, particularly your third abdominal layer, called the transverse abdominus. The abdominal muscle is made of three layers, but each layer is strengthened differently, and gives different effects. This is why you can do 100 sit ups or plank for five minutes without gaining core strength, even though you would have a six-pack! Six packs only reflect your external oblique – the most outer layer. In order to strengthen your third layer, you should do crunches. I recommend doing bicycle crunches though, as many other types are harmful to your spine. Hope this helped, and I hope the medical terms didn’t make it seem complicated or scary. It really isn’t!

  Gizmo372 wrote @

Hi I’m starting point next month and I’m starting to get more and more worried about my feet either being permenanly changed or in pain I’m only 11 and the youngest in my class any advice or help please
Thx

  Sabriel wrote @

Worrying about damage to your feet is a completely realistic fear. Many, many dancers have bunions on their feet or problems with their ankles or tendons. It all depends on how hard you work your feet, how well matched your shoes are for you, and how strong your feet, ankles, and core are. It also has a little to do with genetics. You have to really adore the sport to be willing to risk dancing en pointe, but, in my personal experience, it is a beautifully rewarding and magical feeling to dance en pointe.

  Gizmo372 wrote @

Thx

  Eva wrote @

Peace

  Eva Burwood wrote @

Peace peeps

  Kali Call wrote @

A little over a year ago my second toe started hurting to the point where it was hard to walk. It hurts when i pointe my foot and on half pointe and full pointe. I brought this to my ballet instructors attention. She told me it was inflamed and told me to ice it after class and to be careful dancing. It still hurts really bad and throbs with pain. Does anyone know what this may be?

  sabriel wrote @

Hi Kali Call
If you are in that much pain, it is possible that there are other problems than just the inflammation. Because I’m no doctor and I can’t see your injury, I recommend taking this suggestion with a grain of salt: take a short break from dance to see if the problem persists. That should give you a better idea of the cause of the pain while giving it a chance to heal. If it still bothers you, see your doctor or visit your physical therapist. If that is not an option, you can – and you may find this silly – ask your science teacher about it. After all, it is their job to know anatomy in most cases. If you find out later on that the problem is serious, DO NOT RISK DANCING ON IT! If you do not dance on an injured body part, it will heal much faster. Also, not dancing with an injury will prevent you from forming the bad technical habits that result from placing weight incorrectly to avoid pain. I hope this helped, and I wish you a speedy recovery!

  raquel tatara wrote @

im 11 and have been doing feet strengthening exercizes for 1 1/2 years at home. I take 2 ballet classes a week and have been doing ballet sence I was 3. do you think I have a chance to go en pointe

  Sabriel wrote @

You certainly have a chance! It’s good that you have already started preparing your feet; many people don’t really realize how hard pointe it on the feet! If you are looking for more things to do to prepare, try doing releves in first position(try about 60 reps per night). The releves will work your calf and inner thigh muscles, both of which are essential for pointe. There are many other things you could do as preparation, such as work for your core to improve balance, but you can find examples for those in other posts on this page. But overall, 11 is generally a great age to start pointework, and you seem to have your head in the game. Ask your teacher if she thinks you’re ready to go en pointe!

  How Do I Know If I Am Ready For Hip Replacement wrote @

[…] Does It Hurt ? | The Perfect Pointe Book – Does It Hurt? While pointe work is not exactly like wearing slippers, it should not be painful for the beginner. There are a few reasons why dancers may get pain en …… […]

  Amelia Packer wrote @

Today I went en pointe for the first time. Last year I had an operation on my ankle. Whilst I was up it didn’t hurt but when I came down my ankle was sore, is this a general thing for beginners or is it because of my operation? I’m 15

  Sabriel wrote @

Hi Amelia, I don’t know how serious your ankle injury was, so I can’t know anything for sure, but here’s my theory. EVERYBODY who goes up en pointe for the first time should have sore ankles and feet afterwards (if not they are either superhuman or not engaging their muscles properly). If your formerly injured ankle is more sore than your other ankle, my guess would be because during the healing period post surgery it lost some muscle from being rested, resulting in a decrease in strength for that ankle. If what your feeling is a sharp pain, then I’d recommend having it looked at, but regular old soreness always accompanies pointe work! You feel sore from pointe no matter what skill level you’re at. Standing on the tips of your toes takes a lot of muscular work from your body, and the soreness is just a side effect from your muscles working hard. By the way, congratulations on going en pointe 😉 !

  Toni wrote @

I have been en pointe for about five months and i cant manage to do a proper pirouette. I am fine with pique turns but when i start with fifth or fourth position before turning I get off balance and fall. Please help!

Luv ya

  Asia wrote @

I find myself in pain while in pointe class and only on my big toe my other toes are fine I have tried different padding and I do not know what to do.

  Sabriel wrote @

That’s just a reality of pointework. It’s always gonna hurt. If it’s a sharp pain then there’s a chance that you have an issue with the bone or joint in your big toe, but that’s unlikely, especially if it happens in both of your big toes. My guess would be that it’s just a regular cause of ailment for pointe dancers: bruised toenails, ingrown toenail, blisters.We all get them. Most likely it’s just that pain of all of you body putting pressure on your big toe because, naturally being the largest, it has to take the brunt of the force when you stand en pointe. You can alleviate it somewhat by pulling up more in your muscles (legs and abdominals), but that’s about it. There are toe pads that fit just over the big toes, which you could try too (I think bunheads is the brand). Other than that, you’ve just got to grit your teeth and bear it.

  Emily geremia wrote @

I finally got my first pair of pointe shoes and at the fitting they fit perfectly fine but now it’s been a few days and everything is seen on it hurts my big toe when I’m standing flat and en pointe. Is this normal for beginners en pointe? If the shoe is not the right size is there a way for me to stretch it out so I don’t have to spend a lot of money on getting a new pair? Or would the store take them back even though the ribbon and everything is sewn on because it was fit incorrectly? Thank you for your time 🙂

  Olivia wrote @

My name is Olivia and I am 10 turning 11 on November 10.I really want to do pointe and I am one of the best in my class .I love roller skating ice skating and I play lacrosse.do you think I am ready? Please reply

  Jillian wrote @

Hi Olivia,
It depends if your ready for pointe work. If your ankles are strong enough then you should be able to do pointe work but if there weak just do a lot of relives. Ask yourself these questions: how long have I been taking ballet lessons of the answer is 3 years or more then your most likely ready. Can you balence in relive for a while? You should NOT start pointe work if your younger then 10. Starting pointe work to early will damage your bones in your in your feet and never be able to dance again or walk again. How many classes do you take a week ? Does your teacher think your ready? If all of most of these answer were yes then your good to go

Ps. I’m 11 going on 12 and I start ballet when I was 2 1/2 I’m just starting pointe work now. I take 6 classes a week. I have thought myself how to do the four little swans in swan lake and how to do fuettes. I’m only on pointe for 15 min a week.

Jillian

  Annybleymonk wrote @

I think I might be ready for pointe and people in my class are 9 and 10 and are taking pre pointe this summer. I am 11, I play soccer and I practice ballet every day. How do I ask?

  Annybleymonk wrote @

Also, I have been doing classes for a little more than 2 years

  Annybleymonk wrote @

I got them!!!😜

  Annybleymonk wrote @

#blochgirl

  Annybleymonk wrote @

One more question: I’m moving and I have to get into a new company. The one I’m looking at has levels. My current company has a mini ballet, ballet, advanced ballet, and pointe. I did (before I went end pointe) advanced ballet. Any level suggestions? Also, I have been taking general dance for 31\2- 4 years, and ballet for 21\2.

  Annybleymonk wrote @

En, not end

  kendra179 wrote @

So I have a question, I’m 18 years old and have been doing dance for 3 years. Before that I did gymnastics for 5 years so I have strong ankles. I just graduated and I really want pointe shoes. I no longer go to my studio but I will be dancing in college. My dance teachers never looked at me to go on pointe because I started so late, at 15. Is it a good idea to get pointe shoes now and just work at the bar until I take classes in college? Please help I don’t know what to do?

  Aria wrote @

I just started pointe and my feet hurt like a lot, I have toe pads and I tried socks but my feet still hurt I am 15 and I’m not that heavy in fact my teacher says I’m light for my grade and age. I really don’t know what to do plz help!


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