Do my dancing feet need a pedicure?
February 25, 2011 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I have just started dancing again after a long break, in a style that's very hard on the feet. Is it better to remove hard skin or leave it?

My old teacher used to tell me to let hard skin build up because it was incredibly important in protecting my feet.

A podiatrist huhed and nodded and said dancers have the worst feet in the world, and she went ahead and removed my hard skin. Message: hard skin is bad mmkay.

Now I've started dancing again after a 10-year break, in the same foot-intensive discipline. A momentous decision awaits me: get out the pumice stone? Or leave it in the cabinet?
posted by tel3path to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Best answer: My unprofessional but aware-of-my-own-dry-feet answer: it depends. If you slough it off, it will only provide you with a new start, again and again (and will take away the benefits you've had from the built-up skin). If you let it harden, things could be fine... until the skin cracks, and then OW.

Can you take a medium approach? Maybe slough it off a little so that you get the outer layer, only with a very fine file, and soaking/putting lotion on diligently. Make sure to keep your feet very clean so that if your feet do get cracked, they don't get dirt in the fissures.

This stuff is the best best best.
posted by Madamina at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2011

It's probably somewhere in the middle. If my calluses from running/walking build up too much, they will start hurting more than they help (and on preview, seconding Madamina that you really don't want them to crack, argh ouch). On the other hand, if I try to keep my feet baby-soft, I'm much more likely to get blisters when I run. Filing the tough spots down a little every few weeks, or whenever I start to notice them getting out of hand, seems to keep everything okay.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:21 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Remove. I've been going to a podiatrist to have calluses shaved off. He says the pressure from a callus antagonizes the underlying skin, promoting growth of the callus. After trimming my calluses grow much more slowly.
posted by neuron at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a vote to at least maintain that stuff and don't let it get out of hand.

I'm only chiming in because I used to surf alot and spent most of the time barefoot and I developed some VERY painful corns! It took almost a full year to be rid of them. Now I just get a pedicure every couple of years to knock off the thick spots.

Good luck!
posted by snsranch at 5:13 PM on February 25, 2011

I have calluses develop in two ways: 1) blisters from shoe friction on my toes that then heal over and develop into calluses and 2) high foot pressure (from 3" latin heels) that combined with a bunion produce calluses on the sole of my foot (biggest one under the second metatarsal). I leave the calluses on top of my toes alone as those are protective, but I knock down the ones on the bottom of my feet w/ the pumice stone (not entire removal, just a few minutes of scrubbing every day) b/c those continue to develop as other ppl have said.
posted by tangaroo at 6:36 PM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: It might make a difference as to whether you are dancing in specialized shoes or barefoot. A million years ago, when I was in studying modern dance (no shoes) in college my prof emphasized how important taking good care of our feet was. This included allowing calluses to develop, but not too much. Get out the stone! I found that a quick scrub as part of my shower routine keeps the balance right. Some things to consider: if you have developed a specific callus it could be indicative of a technical problem, like you are landing wrong, so talk to your teacher, and if you do use a special shoe, does it fit right?

Lastly, good for you! If I ever get the chance to go back to dance, it would make me so happy.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 3:47 AM on February 26, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, MeFites. Time to start sawing away with that pumice stone, I guess. Yay.
posted by tel3path at 3:57 PM on February 28, 2011

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