Common Dancing Injuries to the Foot and Ankle
Professional dancers move with such grace across the stage that you might not think about the potential dancing injuries their feet and ankles may experience. These athletic artists do sometimes sustain foot pain when dancing, but such injuries are not limited to the pros. If you have foot or ankle pain after a night of dancing, whether as a professional, amateur, or even in your own kitchen, we are here to help.
Your Feet and Ankles
Structurally, your feet and ankles play major roles in allowing you to dance in the first place. The ankle joint connects your foot to your lower leg, but it also enables you to point your toes, flex your foot, and perform the inversion and eversion motions (turn-in and turn-out) that dancers rely upon. Dancing places a high level of physical demand on the foot and ankle, so the risk of injury is fairly strong in this activity.
This is a natural starting point when looking at dancing injuries that you may experience. In this particular injury, a fracture happens along the 5th metatarsal, which is the long bone on the outside of your foot. This will typically occur as a result of an awkward landing on an in-turned foot.
Some of your bones are not actually connected in the traditional manner you would expect to find within your skeletal structure. In your feet, the sesamoids are unique in that they are embedded in the tendons at the big toe joint. They provide a support surface when a dancer is on demi-pointe, but the tendon that runs between them can become inflamed and lead to a form of tendinitis.
Hallux Valgus and Bunions
Bunions do not necessarily have to arise from dancing, but this activity can exacerbate the condition, especially with the use of tight-fitting shoes. Shoes that do not fit properly are a root cause for a majority of bunion cases. With this condition you will feel pain in the big toe area when jumping or bearing weight on it. When the ailment is particularly bad, even light contact will cause pain and discomfort.
This overuse injury will not likely be noticed during your dancing practice or performance, but you will experience pain after class, first thing in the morning, or after doing lengthy weight-bearing activities. Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of an inflamed fascia, which is the fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of your toes. This injury is easier to address in earlier stages.
An onset of Achilles tendinitis may frequently be attributed to either overtraining or heavy dance training conducted in a short period of time. Symptoms include pain over the Achilles tendon, swelling, inflammation, stiffness that goes away after the tendon is warmed up, and tenderness in the morning approximately ½” above where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.
Lateral Ankle Sprain
In addition to being a dancing injury, an ankle sprain is simply one of the most common injuries for anyone. Some may mistakenly associate it only with athletics, but all it takes is one misstep off of a curb or a stumble on a slippery surface and your ankle could twist awkwardly and overextend or even tear ligaments. Twisting and overextension are definite risks for dancers.
Stress fractures are common overuse injuries in general, but can be especially prevalent in dancing. A stress fracture is a small crack in the surface of the bone and they often happen when fatigued muscles can’t handle the force load from jumping and landing and the trauma is passed to your bones.
There are a wide array of dancing injuries, but the good news is that Dallas Podiatry Works has a wide array of effective treatment options to kick that pain off your stage. When you need the best foot care you can find in Texas, call us toll free at (888) 716-5283 or schedule an appointment online with either Dr. Joel W. Brook, Dr. David R. Northcutt, Dr. Irene Arroyo or Dr. John Baca in our Dallas or Plano, TX, office today. Don’t let foot and ankle problems stop you from dancing!