Yes, but if you start dancing ‘en-pointe’ when you and your body are ready you will be less likely to injure yourself.
The most important thing to reduce injuries from pointe work is to only wear pointe shoes and dance ‘en-pointe’ when your ballet teacher says your body and feet are strong enough to be able to dance on your toes.
If unsure then ask your doctor. If you do not feel ready, wait a little longer. Keep dancing in your flat ballet shoes until you feel ready.
You must remember a few things before you start dancing ‘en-pointe’:
1) Commit to ballet classes at least 3 times each week - your body and feet will not be strong enough and you are more likely to get injured.
If you can't, don't rush to start dancing in pointe shoes. As you get older you will have more time for ballet and more time to learn the correct pointe techniques.
If you have a break from pointe work, remember to slowly build up to it again. This break may only be as short as a family holiday but your feet will need some time to build up their strength again.
2) Your body and feet must be very strong and ‘conditioned’ for pointe work.
Your ballet teacher should start preparing you for 6 months to 1 year before dancing in pointe shoes.
You should then only progress to pointe shoes when your teacher knows you are strong enough. Don’t hurry to wear pointe shoes you may find you start wearing them at different times from your friends.
3) Your pointe shoes must fit well.
Ask your ballet teacher to help you with choosing the right pointe shoe.
There are also many specialist shops and websites.
If you have pointe shoes that hurt, don’t pad them to make them fit - talk to your ballet teacher/parents/guardian about getting your pointe shoes re-fitted.
Look after your pointe shoes – speak to your ballet teacher about how often you need to change your shoes, how and where to sew on the correct length of ribbon and how often you need to be re-fitted for your pointe shoes… if your feet grow and you need to change your every-day shoes you will also need to get bigger pointe shoes too!
4) Always remember, pointe work will be uncomfortable to start with.
Talk to your ballet teacher or doctor about any pain.
If you think you are injured always tell your parent/guardian as soon as you can and ask for your doctor’s opinion.
Pain is not normal and may be a sign that you are damaging yourself.
All these tips will help you to be less likely to injure yourself when you start dancing ‘en-pointe’.
If you have any more questions ask your ballet teacher or your doctor. Enjoy ballet and have fun!