Dancing on pointe can easily lead to injuries, such as ingrown toenails and bruised toenails. This next part of this series on pointe shoe injuries will inform dancers of how to prevent and treat these infirmities.
Ingrown toenails dig into the toe's skin, which can be quite painful and may lead to an infection.
Causes - Point shoes that are either too short or too narrow may deserve the blame for ingrown toenails. Neglecting to give toenails the proper care they need also provokes this problem.
Prevention - Dancers should never be lazy in trimming their toenails. This involves cutting the nails straight across so that they are barely rounded at the corners. Wearing pointe shoes that are the correct length and width also aid in the prevention of ingrown toenails.
Treatment - Dancers can treat ingrown toenails themselves by soaking the nail in hot water mixed with antibacterial soap and putting an alcohol-soaked cotton underneath the nail to take it away from the skin. This process may have to be repeated several times a day. If the nail needs to be cut this should be done by a doctor.
Products - Really all a dancer needs to prevent ingrown toenails is a pair of toenail clippers.
Toenails turn blackish-purple when blood clots form underneath them and are identified as bruised toenails. This injury normally happens on the big toe.
Causes - A bruised toenail may result from the nail being too long or the pointe shoe being too short. Narrow pointe shoes are another one of the possible causes.
Prevention - Making sure pointe shoes are an ideal fit and that the toenails are kept at the right length is an easy way to avoid bruised toenails.
Treatment - A clot should be tended to as soon as it is noticed because of the risk of the toenail falling off. There is a brief period of time that lasts two days after the clot has formed when a dancer should attempt to treat the bruised toenail in order to increase the odds of keeping the nail. By carefully sticking a heated paper clip under the bruised nail, and soaking it in Epsom salts three times a day, the nail has a better chance of staying on. In addition, the toenail should be covered in merthiolate and a bandage.
If the ideal time for treatment has passed without the bruised toenail receiving any care the nail will most likely fall off. The dancer should tape it once it shows signs of removing itself from the nail bed. Soon enough, a fresh toenail will grow in the damaged nail's place
Products - Bunheads has created a product called Jelly Tips that specifically addresses this troublesome issue. It looks like a cap for the toe, and it protects the toenail from situations that cause clots. The Big Tip serves the same purpose but is meant to be worn over larger toes.
Dancing on pointe does not have to tear up your toenails. Certain steps can be taken to decrease the possibility of acquiring pointe shoe injuries. However, some problems that interfere with pointe work can only be minimized but not corrected, which is what the last two parts of this series addresses.
Posted by Kristina Tyler from A Ballerina's Journey
Kristina Tyler enjoys writing articles about dance, as well as blogging about her personal experiences in the dance world. After years of training to become a professional ballet dancer, she is now in college studying to become a personal trainer. She still keeps up with ballet, and has recently taken up running and horseback riding.