Dancers’ Feet: A Horror Story

“Go to any ballet house and, however serene the dancers’ faces, those elegant pink silk shoes hide a battery of injuries: black nails, purpling flesh, growths galore. Peter Norman, one of the UK’s leading podiatrists, has seen it all in the 16 years he has been treating the the Royal Ballet. ‘I know of dancers who have gone on pointe with broken bones and stress fractures,’ says Norman. ‘The pressure on them to get parts, to guard their places in the companies, means they push themselves too far.’ Most dance companies now employ physiotherapists, even masseurs, on staff, but dancers’ feet remain areas of private hell.”