Have Fun Dancing Without Injury To Feet & Ankles

Are you familiar with Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance? These television dance shows showcase the rigors of dancing, as well as potential foot and ankle injuries that come with the territory.

For many people, dance may not spring to mind when thinking about sports, but the physical demands placed on the bodies and the feet of dancers make them candidates for overuse injuries. More than half of dance injuries fall into the overuse category, given the numerous repetitive movements in dance.

Dancers have the same type of injuries as any other athlete. They have fractures, sprains, strains, tendonitis, ingrown nails, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and of course blisters and many more.

Common foot and ankle injuries for dancers include the following:

  • Achilles Tendonitis Inflammation to the bodys longest tendon, the Achilles tendon. This tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is responsible for plantar flexion of the foot to perform.
  • Achilles Rupture- More than one dancer on has ruptured their Achilles. Proper stretching can help prevent this serious injury but certain movements cause them in dancers and athletes.
  • Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) Overuse injury affecting the sole of the foot and creating pain after weight-bearing exercise or when walking barefoot. This injury causes inflammation of the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) that connects the heel bone to the base of the foot.
  • Ankle Sprain Ankle sprains occur when the injury pulls, stretches, or tears from the ligaments that connect to the bone. Ankle sprains should be evaluated by a podiatric physician right away.
  • Dancers Fracture Fracture of the fifth metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot. This is typically caused by landing from a jump on a turned in foot, often creating pain and immediate swelling, as well as difficulty in walking.
  • Stress Fracture Dancers commonly experience a stress fracture in the second metatarsal one of the five long bones of the foot.
  • Shin Splints Small tears in the connective tissues that attach the muscles to the bone.
  • Sesamoiditis The tiny sesmoid bones, located beneath the forefoot near the big toe, provide a smooth surface over which the tendons can become inflamed, eventually causing sesamoiditis (a form of tendinitis) or can become fractured.
  • Other Chronic Conditions Dancers also suffer from more than their share of warts, corns and calluses, toenail bruising, ingrown toenails, and blisters.

Like all rigorous, physical activity, dancing poses an injury risk to the foot and ankle, especially when its done for an extended amount of time on a daily basis, says Jeffrey N. Bowman, DPM, MS.

The key with any injury, whether it is dancing-related or otherwise, is to seek treatment swiftly. Particularly with dancing, early intervention when an injury first occurs may help cut down on rehabilitation time.

Treatment options should always start with prevention. One should consider the following treatment guidelines:

  • Implement the RICE treatment protocol:
    • Rest Reduce or stop using the injured area to avoid further damage.
    • Ice Put an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time.
    • Compression Compression of an injured foot or ankle may help reduce the swelling.
    • Elevation Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart.
  • Use of anti-inflammatory medication as needed.
  • Wear Proper Footwear Although not always possible when dancing, wear supportive footwear. Shoes that have been fitted incorrectly will accelerate issues with calluses, blisters, toenail trauma and inevitably, bunions and hammertoes.
  • Evaluate and Correct Biomechanical Imbalances You may need custom orthotics prescribed by a podiatric physician. Wear them as often as possible.

If you have an injury, be proactive. Dr. Jeffrey Bowman will consult with you in caring for your feet and ankles properly so that further injury can be prevented. Then youll be dancing for joy for many years to come. Contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or online appointments are available at www.houstonfootspecialists.com.

Category: Sports Injuries

Tags: Achilles Rupture, Achilles Tendonitis, Ankle Fractures, ankle injuries, Ankle Sprains, Blisters, Bunions, Calluses, Corns, Dance Injuries, Dancer's Fracture, Dancing, Foot Injuries, Footwear, Hamertoes, heel Pain, Heel Spurs, Ingrown Toenails, Overuse Injuries, Plantar Fasciitis, Sesamoiditis, Shin Splints, shoes, Sports Injuries, Stress Fractures, Toenail Bruising, Warts