Dancers are not only entertainers but athletes in their own right. They combine strength with agility to create dance movements. The feet take a brutal beating from all these movements. It is tasked with supporting the body’s enormous weight while being flexible enough to make us glide across the dance floor. This is why dancers are at great risk for developing foot injuries.
The first signs of a foot injury can be subtle. Since dancers are no strangers to pain during practices, these symptoms may go unnoticed. This could quickly turn into career ending foot injuries. Dr. Joseph Stuto is a podiatrist who specializes in helping people suffering from dancer’s heel.
Foot Conditions in Dancers
Bunions – this is a bony protrusion located at the edge of the big toe joint. This happens when the big toe is forced to move inwards to the other toes. The bony protrusion can damage surrounding tissues causing pain and swelling. Bunions can be caused by tight-fitting shoes or through repeated movements that require the big toe moving inwards to the other toes such as dance steps.
Plantar Fasciitis – the plantar fascia is strong tissue that runs through the heel and base of the toes. This is constantly stretched with each foot movement. This can be regularly stretched to its limits with explosive foot movements such as sports activities and dancing. Plantar fasciitis or inflammation of the plantar fascia can cause pain and swelling at the base of the heel and foot arch.
Stress Fractures – the bones and cartilage are part of the feet’s support system. It contributes to helping the feet carry our body weight. The feet are exposed to four times the normal pressure when running and much more when dancing. This leaves dancers susceptible to stress fractures.
Achilles Tendonitis – the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. Repeated abuse through explosive dance movements increases the risk for injury. Pain and swelling in the area are early signs of injury. Tightness and soreness of the Achilles tendon as the early signs of injury. Resting the feet and pain medication provides immediately relief for Achilles tendonitis.
These are just some of the common foot injuries experienced by dancers. Early detection prevents further aggravating the injury.