Physical health & the Importance of Pointe Fittings
Most dancers know they need an in-person pointe fitting for their first pair of shoes, but many dancers (and caregivers) are surprised to learn they actually need in-person fittings throughout their entire pointe journey. There are many reasons for needing in-person fittings, but one of the most important factors is a dancer's physical wellbeing. That's what we will break down in this post.
A Dancer's Physical Health
In-person pointe fittings are 100% necessary for reducing the risk of injury, keeping dancers dancing stronger and longer. We understand it can be difficult to find the time in a busy dancer's (and dance family's) schedule, so we know getting fittings every new pair might not be realistic, however, when you've got a dancer who is injury-prone or recovering from an injury, in-person fittings are a must. As dancers are recovering from an injury, they will have different pointe shoe needs for most steps of the way. It is imperative that you establish a relationship with fitters who will understand the plan and the progress the dancer is making. Consistency is key. You wouldn't switch up a doctor halfway through your recovery, so don't switch up your fitting team! Your fitter(s) have a plan and will ensure they support the dancer along the way. Our fitters at Allegro love when we have an established relationship with our fittings. Just as a teacher builds on the dancer's technique progress, our fitters use their knowledge of shoes and dance technique to devise a pointe shoe path for each dancer. Many of our fitters have a dance degree, which has given them some background in anatomy, and although we're not doctors diagnosing dancers in our fittings, work as strong advocates for injury-prevention for all dancers.
"How often do I need an in-person shoe fitting?" Answer: At least every 6 months to a year. Or if you start to experience a new pain, notice a visual change in your foot like swelling or redness, or feel an unexpected difficulty with your technique.
For injury-recovery purposes (or coming fresh off an injury), about once a month or as you hit certain milestones during your recovery process. For post-injury dancers, we recommend getting a medical professional's opinion before returning to pointe.
We mention this one because not everyone thinks of it! Dancers should have a regular wellness plan in order to keep their tool--their bodies--in peak performance condition. "Dancers are both artists and athletes, with high training demands and injury rates that are similar to athletes in collision sports. Consistent self-care and having a good medical/wellness team is key for healthy dancers," reminds Dr. Carrie Skony, a Dance Medicine Specialist and owner of PERFORM Active Wellness + Dance Medicine in Lisle, IL. Our goal at Allegro is to see healthy, injury-free dancers, dancing longer and stronger. If you're under the care of a dance medicine specialist or other medical professional, they might have some recommendations for how often you need fittings. If they see issues potentially caused by ill-fitting pointe shoes, or see your strength or flexibility change, a good care provider will recommend a fitting with a professional. Conversely, if you're under the care of a medical professional and things are going well, your flexibility and strength remain consistently, in-person fittings can possibly happen on a less frequent basis. Because many dance injuries can be identified early and before they become a problem, Dr. Skony recommends a Dancer Wellness Evaluation with an experienced dance physician or therapist at least 1-2x per year to monitor for any risk for injury and aid in injury prevention. Not sure if you have a Dance
Medicine professional near you? You might want to check out Doctors For Dancers or IADMS to find a provider.
"How often do I need an in-person shoe fitting?" Answer: Talk to your doctor! Understand your own body. Stay communicative with your teachers and coaches about how you're taking care of yourself and your pointe shoe needs.
There are several other factors when determining whether or not you'll need an in-person fitting. Check out our other posts on:
We know there's a ton of information here and you might have questions! Feel free to tap that little "chat with us" icon in the corner...you'll get a real person that is excited to help you! Did we convince you that it's time for a pointe fitting? Book one here! Not able to get in-store for a fitting? Book a Telepointe™️ Fitting here!
Dr. Carrie Skony is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® and a dance medicine physician. She is owner of PERFORM Active Wellness + Dance Medicine in Lisle, IL and treats dancers throughout the Chicago area. You can learn more about Dr. Skony at www.drcarrieskony.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram