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Saving Your Feet From Feis Season

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Claire Plummer is a Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, and T.C.R.G. through An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. She is dedicated to optimal health, wellness, and injury prevention in Irish Dancers of all levels and ages. Claire can be contacted here, and she loves to hear your questions and comments!

Any Irish Dancer who has broken in a new pair of hard shoes, or danced for hours on end at a workshop will tell you that sometimes your feet will take a beating. But how can you keep your feet from feeling like they’ve been mashed to a pulp? Here are a few tips:
    

After dance class, prop your feet up for 10 minutes.

As you dance, your body recognizes that your legs and feet are working hard, and need nutrients, so it sends more blood to the muscles in those areas. Throughout class, the blood continues to circulate and some of that fluid may be left behind in your feet, making them swell. This is normal, but propping your feet up can decrease any throbbing you may have after removing your shoes.
    

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 9.11.10 AMUse toe separators after class.

Tight hard and soft shoes compress your toes and feet, and this can tighten up muscles deep in your foot. Toe separators stretch out these muscles, and keep them from getting too tight. This can also help you avoid developing painful bunions.
    

Keep your toenails short, and cut them straight across.

The pressure from your shoes, and going on your toes can push on long toenails, which is uncomfortable, and may break the nail.

Trimming nails straight across is the best way to prevent ingrown toenails. With rounded edges, the nail can grow into the skin on the side of the toe, becoming inflamed, painful, and possibly infected.
    

Cover blisters, and wash them every day with soap and warm water. Do not pick at them.

Keeping blisters clean helps them heal efficiently. Avoid keeping the blisters too moist or too dry – both can inhibit healing.

Covering blisters decreases the friction that causes them, keeping the blister from becoming deeper. Picking at blisters can make them larger, and is an easy way for an infection to start.
    

Ice Bucket!

To kick start any necessary healing, ice is always a good first choice. Fill a bucket with ice cubes and cold water, and place your feet in the ice bucket for 5 minutes. It is very cold, but it is a very short time, and your feet will feel great afterward! A helpful tip: Keep your feet VERY STILL. This will make it more tolerable after 2 minutes.

Our feet do a lot for us in Irish Dancing, but we need them for other things too! Taking care of your feet while you’re dancing can help you keep them healthy beyond Feis Season, so you can use them for the rest of your life.

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Photo credits:
Image 1: deviantART.com user arthemis182
Image 2: www.wisegeek.com
Image 3: Belongs to Diddlyi Media


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