Technically, a dancing career does not require taking a single human anatomy class. But just like a working knowledge of muscles can be helpful, a complete understanding of the human foot can be particularly significant for any dancer. Did you know that human feet are extremely complex? These relatively small structures actually incorporate 52 of the 208 bones in the human body. Of course, they also have an extremely important purpose: supporting, balancing, and propelling the entire body.
For a dancer, this purpose is even more significant. In order to be a good dancer, you have to have healthy feet; in order to keep your feet healthy, you need to know a little bit about them, starting with basic foot care for dancers.
While the word “pedicure” technically refers to foot care, the term typically conjures images of fancy, painted toenails; however, that’s not what foot care means to dancers. In fact, it’s pretty far from reality. Instead, it refers in general to taking the steps necessary to prevent and treat foot injuries. If you’re a dancer, memorize the following steps, rehearsing them until they become even more routine than the solo memorized for an upcoming dance competition.
1. Treat Calluses with Care
While a traditional pedicure would eliminate unsightly calluses, caring for dancer feet will mean learning to appreciate those rougher, thicker spots of skin that serve to protect your feet from abrasions and blisters. However, if they become extremely thick, they can cause pain, so you want to keep them trimmed. If a callus becomes too thick, it can also feel bumpy against your shoe or the dance floor. While you want to avoid soaking callused feet or breaking open calluses, you can gently treat them with pumice stones. Select a pumice stone that doesn’t irritate your feet and then rub gently. (If you do break open a callus, be aware that the raw spots will become sore and can also become subject to infection.)
2. Keep Toenails Cut Short
Again, this may not coordinate with typical fashion protocol, but a dancer’s toenails should be cut short and straight across (rather than curved); otherwise, ingrown toenails can result. Ingrown toenails can cause pain and even time off the dance floor, so it’s worthwhile to take care to avoid them. When you trim your toenails, show only a minimal amount of white nail tip. It’s best to use clippers rather than scissors, because nail clippers are better at getting you a crisp, straight cut.
3. Avoid Wearing Nail Polish
Now, don’t get too worked up here: we’re not saying you can’t ever get some pretty colors on those piggies for special occasions like weddings or your prom. But as a general rule, toenails should be free from any colored polish, in order to allow you to clearly see the nail itself. By keeping your toenails visible, you’ll be easily able to see any signs of ingrown nails or bruising.
Continue reading with Part 2.