Like pretty much every dancer I have ever known, in various forms I get split toes. Lately it’s been a particularly annoying small and deep one on my right big toe, and a series of horizontal fissures across the toe-tips like blind smiling toothless maws. My normal treatment for years has been to shave off excess skin and wrap the whole thing up in sports tape.
I am a proseletyser now though for superglue. For quite a while I’d heard of climbers using it to seal down flappers on fingertips, and in a characteristically stupid period lasting some years, never bothered to check it out on wikipedia. Cyanoacrylate – Superglue, I’ve been slathering it all over my toes all week and I cannot believe how good it is and how idiotic I’ve been for not using it before.
The use of cyanoacrylate glues in medicine was considered fairly early on. Eastman Kodak and Ethicon began studying whether the glues could be used to hold human tissue together after surgery. In 1964, Eastman submitted an application to use cyanoacrylate glues to seal wounds to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Soon afterward Dr. Harry Coover’s glue did find use in Vietnam–reportedly in 1966, cyanoacrylates were tested on-site by a specially trained surgical team, with impressive results. In an interview with Dr. Coover by the Kingsport Times-News, Coover said that the compound demonstrated an excellent capacity to stop bleeding, and during the Vietnam War, he developed disposable cyanoacrylate sprays for use in the battlefield.
“If somebody had a chest wound or open wound that was bleeding, the biggest problem they had was stopping the bleeding so they could get the patient back to the hospital. And the consequence was–many of them bled to death. So the medics used the spray, stopped the bleeding, and were able to get the wounded back to the base hospital. And many, many lives were saved,” Coover said.
The original Eastman formula was not FDA approved for medical use, however, because of a tendency to cause skin irritation and to generate heat. In 1998 the FDA approved 2-octyl cyanoacrylate for use in closing wounds and surgical incisions. Closure Medical have developed medical cyanoacrylates such as Dermabond, Sooth-N-Seal and Band-Aid Liquid Adhesive Bandage.