Our South Park Foot Doctor Explains How Dancers Can Take Care Of Their Feet

March 2, 2019

Of the 208 bones in the human body, 52 are located in the feet alone. It’s no wonder they’re so complex, when one considers all they have to do: support the entire weight of the body, absorb shock from jumping, and propel it forward. For dancers, who put exceptional stress on their feet, foot care and maintenance should be a top priority. Below are some tips for keeping your feet as healthy and safe as possible.

Keep Your Toenails Trimmed

Curved nails, or nails that are too long, can easily lead to ingrown toenails. Use clippers to get a clean, straight cut. If you can feel your toenails hitting the toes of your shoes, then they are too long and need a trim.

Avoid Nail Polish

Polish hides problems that could be affecting the nail, like bruises or ingrown toenails. If you want to wear polish for a special event, be sure to remove it before your next class or performance.

Dealing With Corns and Calluses 

Corns and calluses are not warts, but thick, hardened layers of skin. Although they can be unattractive, they serve an important purpose in protecting the tissue beneath your skin against friction. Usually, corns and calluses do not require treatment unless they become painful or inflamed.

Do not Self-Treat Corns and Calluses  

Do not cut your calluses open by yourself. The feet are a breeding ground for bacteria, and the open callus could easily become infected. Furthermore, once the open sore has healed, the callus will likely grow back for the same reason it originally developed—to protect your feet from friction and rubbing. Unfortunately, if you want callus-free feet, you may have to pick up a sport or hobby besides dance.

Wear Well-Fitting Shoes

This is especially true for ballet dancers wearing pointe shoes. Since pointe shoes are so expensive, it can be easy to want to select a cheaper brand to save money. However, the money you save on the shoes will likely end up being paid out in foot treatments and visits to a foot specialist (podiatrist). Make sure to buy high-quality shoes and have a professional ensure that you have the right size. Always wear your dance shoes with tights to prevent rubbing.

Pay Attention to Your Toes

As a dancer, your toes undergo a lot of pressure, especially if you dance en pointe. You can mitigate the damage by individually wrapping your toes with foam or athletic tape; wearing toe pads and spacers; and stuffing the shoes with lamb’s wool or something similar. If you notice that your toenails are turning purple, black, or blue, they probably have subungual hematoma, or bruising under the nail bed, and will eventually fall off. If you notice this type of discoloration, make an appointment with a foot specialist immediately.

Take Care of Your Feet With a Foot Specialist in South Park  

For dancers, preventing and treating minor foot injuries is a routine way of life. Hopefully, these tips can help you stay on your feet and keep dancing for as long as possible. If you need a foot specialist in South Park or Concord NC, be sure to visit Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic.