The Leprechauns are doing the Irish Jig... but how do they protect their toes?
If you've ever seen Irish dancing such as Riverdance, you know that there is quite a bit of stepping and impact to the feet! You may have wondered how Irish dancers, and other performance dancers, endure the repeated pounding to the ground.
Here is a list of problems dancer's may face when it comes to their feet and our recommendations on how to maintain them:
Shoes fit is important - Make sure the shoe fits, then wear it. If a dancer's shoes are too loose, this causes the skin of the foot to rub against the shoe causing friction and irritation. If a dancer's shoes are too tight, they run the risk of forming bunions, hammertoes, and skin irritation. The shoe should have enough room in the ball of the foot to prevent these problems.
Preventing friction to the skin - To avoid being a victim of foot friction while dancing, an Irish dancer can wrap areas that are more prone to friction with band aids or medical tape before any problems start. By doing so, the band aids or medical tape take the abuse of the friction and not your feet.
Sore spots and blisters - Sometimes sore spots and blisters happen no matter how many precautions are taken. When this happens, a dancer can use moleskin to help. Moleskin can be cut to fit and cover the sensitive spots so that dancing can still be done.
Foot and toe protection - If a dancer's toes are already sore or are more prone to being sensitive, a gel toe cap may be useful. To use, a dancer slips the silicone gel toecap onto the problem toe. The toe cap absorbs pressure and reduces friction. We sell a variety of these at our office, cost is $4.00 - $8.50+tax depending on the size of the toe cap.
Cushioning for the foot - The allowed room for extra cushioning in an Irish dancer's shoes is very minimal. To provide extra cushioning, a dancer may apply gel cushions that adhere directly to their foot. A gel metatarsal pad cushion is a good pad to start with. This type of padding helps reduce pressure from the toes and metatarsals while providing extra comfort.
Corns and Ingrown nails - Due to so much movement and hard impact, Irish dancers regularly suffer from corns and ingrown toenails. To help avoid getting these, toe separators can be used. The toe separators are placed between the toes to help reduce the friction and absorb the impact that may cause a dancer to get corns or ingrown toenails.
New shoes - When an Irish dancer's shoes are new, they can cause painful rubbing to the dancer's ankles and cause blisters. Blister booties are great to use when trying to avoid being a blister victim when it comes to new dance shoes. These booties are form fitting and pull onto the foot. The bootie, which looks like a toe-less sock, absorbs the friction to the ankle that is caused by the new, stiff shoes so that the dancer does not have to.
Foot health - Since a dancer's feet and ankles are always under excessive impact, it is ideal that they be seen by a podiatrist regularly. By doing so, a podiatrist can identify any underlying issues that may be happening and provide treatment options to help alleviate any issues the dancer may be experiencing.
At DM Foot and Ankle Associates, we treat feet of all sizes. If you live in or near the Lemont, Homer Glen, Lockport, Hinsdale or Burr Ridge areas, contact our office to schedule an evaluation with one of our physicians to have any of your foot and ankle issues taken care of.