Toenail problems become a source of concern and agony for the dancer, particularly the ballerina on pointe. Toenails function to improve our tactile (pressure) sensation and to act as a support structure for the toe. This can be helpful for the dancer on pointe. However, because there is a lot of pressure on the nail while on pointe, bruising of the nail can result.
The underlying nail bed is highly vascularized. The nail plate is adhered to the nail bed via small ligaments. Repetitive microtrauma to the nail plate can injure the ligaments resulting in shear stress to the nail bed. A small amount of bleeding occurs under the nail. As the bleeding continues, the nail plate can elevate, producing calloused tissue and making the nail appear thick. A portion of or the entire nail plate can be lost.
This cycle usually repeats itself over a period of time. Many ballerinas accept the fact that they have chronically bruised nails. Long term consequences of a chronically bruised nail can be chronic ingrown nail borders, a deformed nail or a fungal infection of the nail.
Causes of a bruised nail: [Read more…]