Common Foot Problems for Dancers

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Dancing, including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, salsa, etc. requires a lot more than a few lessons. Those who practice and participate at a performance level (or above) will be able to attest that there are many challenges to overcome, especially when it comes to preparing the feet, ankles, and legs for a great show.

Correct form will help prevent major problems, but the excess strain put on the feet and ankles can cause some of the following common foot problems:

●       Overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis – Dancing requires more activity with the feet and ankles, so inadequate stretching and warming up can lead to strain on the tendons and ligaments.

●       Ankle sprains – Sometimes, the complicated steps in a dance routine or a missed landing on a jump can lead to a stretched or torn ligament along the ankle. Depending on the severity, the injury can be debilitating and require extensive recovery time.

●       Stress fractures – Certain movements can lead to excessive repetitive pressure on certain bones in the feet. Over time, it can cause a slight break in the bone.

●       Metatarsalgia – The balls of the feet can endure pain and inflammation, especially at the tip of the second metatarsal bone, close to the big toe joint. It mostly occurs for dancers who have to raise their heels and be on tiptoe position often. 

●       Sesamoiditis – The sesamoid bones live right under the big toe joint and can become injured or fractured and cause inflammation and pain in the tendons that control the big toe.

●       Toe and toenail issues, such as ingrown toenails, black toenails, and hammertoes are common, especially for ballet dancers as they go “en pointe” (standing on the very tips of their toes).

The best way to keep your feet safe from injury is to adhere to proper form, warm up, and increase strength, balance, and flexibility in your toes, feet, and ankles. Properly-fitting shoes are also important to maintaining foot health. Furthermore, resting and allowing the feet to heal when they are injured are the key to reducing recovery time and getting you back on your “twinkle toes!”

If you have more than a mild injury while dancing or learning to dance, come in and let us give your feet an assessment. You may need some orthotics to help your feet recover or to keep them immobilized while they heal Make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group to find the best treatment. Dr. Mark E. Reiner and his dedicated team of foot doctors can help you at our Jonesboro, AR office.