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Do you think I am right to be annoyed at the pointe shoe fitters that I have had? by Miyoko47
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Pointe - Beginners
Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Aug 18, 2009 06:12 PM

I bruised my big toenail badly at a dance intensive. It doesn't hurt anymore although I haven't been back on pointe since the intensive. It had hurt even to walk before. It's very ugly - very reddish and purplish.

For those with experience in this, how long were you off pointe? What happened with it in the short and long term? Do you get used to it?

I'd just really come into my own on pointe so I really don't want a lot of down time come the start of classes.

What do you usually do for a bruised toenail? Do you take anything for it? Do you put anything on it? Soaks? Ice? Is there any way to speed up the healing process? In the meantime, what do you do to keep dancing while it's doing its thing?

Thanks!

10 Replies to Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be?

re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By dreamy_dancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 654, member since Tue Nov 09, 2004
On Wed Aug 19, 2009 09:08 AM
You asked a lot of questions, I'll try to answer what I can! :)

Unfortunately I have a lot of experience of these lol. My left big toenail is prone to bruising. I can't stop it. When it first bruises you can actually have a tiny little hole drilled into the nail which I think drains the blood from underneath the nail -I think. But that has to be done within the first 24 hours or so.

My first one lasted two years, I never stopped doing pointe but sometimes it was very painful. Germoline ointment is good at numbng the pain and is also antiseptic. Just make sure you cushion the bruised nail and wash it well to prevent infection.

Depending upon the severity of the bruising, the townail can actually come off. Mine became so bruised it just fell off one day - pretty painless, really. If this happens to you make sure you take a lot of care of the new nail - wash it regularly and scrub it with an old toothbrush after showers to get rid of dead skin.

There's not a lot more you can do than that, I don't think, unless anyone else here has any magic formulas? :) Unfortunately it's just another one of those things that dancers have to put up with!
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Wed Aug 19, 2009 07:35 PM
Assuming you have adequate circulation, a nail grows at the rate of approximately 0.1 mm per day. There being 2.54 cm per inch, you can calculate the rate of growth by measuring from the base of the blackened part to the end of the nail. Generally speaking it will take three to six months for the body to grow a complete new great toenail.

The bruise is really blood which leaked from small vessels (arterioles, venuoles, and capillaries) when the injury occurred. Drilling, or having a hole drilled into the nailbed within the first twenty-four hours will release the blood. After that time period it is too late to release the blood as a clot has formed. I'm assuming you did not have this done.

As the nail continues to grow, you will notice that the clot advances toward the end of the nail. Sometimes the nail will separate completely, sometimes it will only separate part of the way, and sometimes it will not separate at all from the nail bed. If it does separate, trim the ragged edge gently with a clean pair of manicure scissors. For the first couple of days or so, I usually clean the area thoroughly and apply neosporin ointment with a sterile bandaid at the site. After this period of time, I just keep the area clean and the ragged edge trimmed to avoid catching it on socks, tights, or shoes and ripping it further. I also keep an eye on the area for signs of inflammation (redness, swelling, increasing pain, and heat) or infection (drainage or pus.) If these occur, I go to the doctor for more definitive treatment (usually, an antibiotic pill.)

Usually, the bruise becomes a lot less uncomfortable once the edge of the clot reaches the edge of the nail. This releases the pressure of the clot in the closed space between the nailbed and the undersurface of the nail. The next inconvenience is the ragged edge getting caught on shoes or tights. For ballet, I usually put a bandaid over the area to avoid catching it on anything before each class until the nail has grown back. It really doesn't affect dance all that much, once you get used to the idea that it will be a little more tender than usual.

The pain should not be more severe than can easily be addressed by aspirin or tylenol. If it is worse than that, see a doctor.

Don't even think about having an acrylic nail placed over this site to try to camouflage the injury. That is a recipe for fungal as well as bacterial infection and future nail deformity.

Much of the time the nail will look normal once it has grown back entirely, but sometimes it grows back somewhat deformed (e.g., with big ridges.) If that occurs, just use a nail buffer to smooth it out. If you notice signs of infection (thickening, a burning sensation, yellowing, and a foul smell from the site,) contact your doctor for antifungal treatment.

What's really more important is to try to identify the cause of the bruised nail in the first place. Examine the fit of your shoes carefully to determine if they are too short, or if the box has expanded to the point where you are no longer held out of the box. Examine your technique to ensure that you are not sinking in the box, and review whether you are trimming your toenails short enough for pointework.

I really hope I didn't spoil anyone's appetite with this rather graphic description of the care of a bruised toenail, and hope you find it helpful. And I hate to say it, but get used to the idea: This is most likely the first of quite a few of these things in the course of your career.
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Wed Aug 19, 2009 08:24 PM
Thank you both for your extremely helpful info! Right now, the toenail is still solid on the toe, not painful but very, very ugly - where the outside isn't black, the underside is purple (e.g. under the nail). I can press on it without pain and it appears to be okay to any pressure. At this time, that is!

No, I didn't have a hole drilled. I was away at a dance camp. Four hours in tight-fitting pointe shoes, doing rather technical things I hadn't done in years, and ignoring the signs I should have taken them off and put on my larger shoes (I think my feet swelled inside the shoes, actually).

It's my larger foot that it happened on. Nothing happened to the other foot's toes. I suspect, too, that I hadn't trimmed that nail short enough.

It'd sort of odd, as I'd worn very ill-fitting shoes in my younger years (lack of choice when I was a youngster), with no protection, and don't recall these things happening. Granted, I may have simply blotted them out of my memory! LOL!

I'm printing out your replies to put on my wall for future use. That Germoline ointment, is that available in the US? I never heard of it. I was told to use Tronolane but it did nothing for the toe at all.

Thanks again so much!!
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Thu Aug 20, 2009 03:37 PM
If you really need a local anesthetic at the site, make very sure you are not getting an infection. Increasing (rather than decreasing) pain is a big cardinal sign that something is going wrong, and it needs to get followed up.

IN THE MEANTIME, what I've done is get a tube of Ora Gel (the kind that you use on toothaches.) It contains benzocaine, a local anesthetic. I mix it in a clean container with an equal amount of neosporin (or any other generic antibiotic) ointment, apply the mixture to the sore spot, and cover with a bandaid. It will give you approximately one-half hour of pain free time, and wear off slowly after that. It should be enough to get you through a class.

But don't put off the doctor visit. This is just a stopgap measure.
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Thu Aug 20, 2009 06:38 PM
Thanks for that mixture - I'll add it to the notes.

I have an appointment on an unrelated issue on Wednesday and will have the doc look at it then. I have no pain, though, no matter how hard I press on the nail. It's not oozing either.

It's just a light red-purplish under the nail, all the way to where the nail ends (tip of toe). The black from the top of the nail is from a different whack the toe got about 2 months back. Since the bruising at camp, the toenail's actually growing out quite fast. Weird. Or maybe not. My toenails do seem to need clipping weekly, so maybe it's just growing normally and I'm noticing it because of the different color it has to my other one! :)

Thanks again!!
S.
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By fouettegirl Comments: 1237, member since Mon Oct 04, 2004
On Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 PM
My left big toenail was pretty badly bruised because my pointe shoe was too wide so I was sinking into the shoe but I couldn't take time off because we had a guest choreographer there that week. It was unbelievably painful - felt like I had needles being shoved into my toenail.

And my feet were swollen - I'm not sure if that was a result of the bruised toenail, or if the bruised toenail was a result of the swollen feet.

Another girl also had a problem with her toenail and she whined about it so she got lots of sympathy and leeway from the choreographer and director. I said nothing (no one knew) so I was expected to do everything as usual. I guess that's my fault for trying to be stoic.

Anyway, after a couple of days of no pointe (after the guest choreographer left), the pain subsided. But it did take a long time for the bruised toenail to grow out. I didn't put anything on it, though. I guess you can use ice to numb the pain. If you can, don't dance on pointe.
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Fri Aug 21, 2009 04:49 AM
That's encouraging to hear, that after the pain subsided you were able to go back and dance on pointe. Whew! I'm not all that concerned about the nail - the look, at least - only about being able to dance again. I'm just lucky that I had two weeks off before going back to pointe classes! :)
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 04:39 AM
Well, the toenail is still ugly to look at but my first class with pointe shoes and no pain on it. I'm very pleased. FYI, from initial bruising and sharp pain to today's class was about 4 weeks. I think after two it would have been okay to dance on.

I didn't do anything special apart from icing it occasionally, after camp was over. However, for the future, I'm keeping ALL these tips (pun intended) on how to deal with it! THanks to all!!
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Sophielihui Comments: 39, member since Tue Aug 11, 2009
On Mon Sep 14, 2009 09:40 PM
I am glad someone brought this up. Looks like I am not alone in this.

Both my big toenails are still bruised from a super intensive mountain hiking earlier this year. To make matters worse, I have been covering them in nail polish right after the trip (I am sure this is not helping, but I just can’t walk around with bloody toenails).

I think the nail growing speed odile53 mentioned might be right for healthy nails, but for bruised ones, it could be slower. Mine has taken six months and is only half healed.

As for how much it will affect your dance, I know for a fact that you can still dance on pointe even after you lose your big toenail, as one of the girls in my studio just did in our recent performance. I don’t know how she put up with it, ouch!
re: Ideas of how long for a bruised toenail and how disruptive it might be? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Sep 15, 2009 04:48 AM
I'm doing a little over three hours a week of pointe now and it seems to be okay. But you're right about the growth - it's slowed considerably. Very, very ugly nail...

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