Dancing as an art form requires strength, dexterity and precision in a dancer's feet. Whether it be for professional performance, exercise or purely celebration, many people the world over engage in this strenuous activity. Although dancing can be fulfilling and enjoyable, it causes atypical stresses on many parts of the body, and none more so than the feet.
This blog will provide an overview of some of the more common foot injuries to watch out for when dancing.
Spraining your ankle is a constant risk in any active lifestyle which involves moving quickly, precisely and manipulating your feet. An ankle sprain is often obvious for the person experiencing it - a bad step followed by a popping sound near the foot and swelling/reduced mobility are clear indications. The simplest solution for a sprain is ice, rest and support while walking (such as a crutch) until the ankle is strong enough to dance comfortably again.
Painful Feelings in the Balls of the Feet
This injury is characterised by soreness just under the ball of the foot and is commonly diagnosed as "metatarsalgia". Dancers can work to prevent this by strengthening the muscles that control flexing in the toes by performing regular exercises on this area, such are lifting small objects or pillows towards your body using your toes only. If this injury is incurred, it's recommended to ice the affected area and rest the foot.
This injury is so-called because it is found almost exclusively in dancing accidents, and is detected by a sharp and sudden pain in the long bone that runs from the middle of your foot to your little toe, followed by swelling. Feet or ankles that roll with sufficient force during a dance move can be pulled harshly. This causes a sudden break in the bone, and the resulting injury can be very painful. Surgery is not usually needed but the recommended treatment is complete immobilization of the foot for up to 12 weeks.
Damaged Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon is a crucial support mechanism for your foot as it connects your heel to your calf muscle, allowing you to walk and dance. Although very sturdy, it can be subject to injury caused by both normal wear and tear, as well as the extreme stress of an intense dance routine. This can be identified by tightness or swelling in the back of the foot and causes reduces mobility. The quickest treatment is to insert small heel lifts into your shoes, which will elevate the foot and reduce pressure while it heals.
Os Trigonum Syndrome
Although this bone near the ankle is small, it can cause a lot of pain if irritated. Os Trigonum Syndrome is brought about by excessive downward pointing of the foot, and as such is most common in ballet dancers. As the bone gets caught between the ankle and the heel it becomes inflamed. Icing and anti-inflammatories are recommended, however if the injury persists it may require isolation in a cast or even further surgery.