We sparr karate/kickboxing twice a week pretty aggressively. We obviously are not trying to hurt each other, but as it is a contact sport, accidents do tend to happen as I'm sure you're all aware. One of my favorite techniques, and a favorite around our dojo, is our mi giri, or front kick. The way we do it is to Snap it in with the ball of the foot with the toes curled back, as to create a quick penetrating strike as opposed to a flat footed push kick style front kick. It works well in many situations, to keep your opponent off of you if he is aggressive, to condition your opponent for other techniques, to set other things up, or for many other reasons. We sometimes call it our leg jab, as it is a quick set up technique that goes straight in and straight out (like a normal jab). On the defensive side of things, one of the things we drill over and over is picking off the kicks. In the case of a kick to the abdomen we are taught to just rotate the body slightly in the direction of the kick and pick them off with our elbows. This works well. Infact, this works so well, that it's painful... It seems every time I sparr I end up getting my mi giris picked off and, being as my toes are curled back to expose the ball of my foot, jamming my big toe back to all hell. When they get in and connect, they are very effective, but when they are blocked, it hurts. Its very rarely that my toes are in good condition when I have been sparring regularly. Often times I end up turning my mi giri into a yoko giri (side kick) part way through the kick so as to put my sakuto (sword edge of the foot) in instead so that if its picked off it won't bend my toes. This is fine, and it is still effective (sometimes even more so), but it's not what I'm looking to put in. Does anyone else use similar techniques and have any advise to offer? Also, in between time I usually just wrap my big toe to the toe next to it to keep it straight and put some arnica on it to aid its healing. Is there any better things I can be doing for it? Stretching it in a certain way, putting different ointment on it, anything like that? I appreciate the help, thanks guys!