Dance originates from the German word “danson.” Danson means “to stretch.” There are many forms of dancing, all which consist of stretching our muscles, then relaxing them. The most common example of this is when leaping. Whether it is ballet, jazz, tap, or one of the many other forms of dance, this puts a lot of stress on the tendons and joints in our feet.
The most common types of foot injuries related to dance are…
This is an avulsion fracture off the 5th metatarsal in your foot. This is the long bone located on the outside of your foot. A dancer’s fracture most commonly happens from rolling or twisting the ankle inwards. At this time, the tendon that attaches to this bone will be stretched or strained, and at times a piece of this bone breaks off, as seen in the photo to the right. You will feel pain along the outside of your foot, frequently accompanied with swelling and bruising. If these fractures are not displaced, they can be treated with immobilization in a CAM walker (walking boot). If they are displaced, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Our sesamoid bones are two, small, accessory bones underneath our big toe joint. The sesamoid bones are buried within the tendon that helps to move the big toe joint down. These bones and tendons can become strained and inflamed, especially in ballet dancers who are commonly in a point position. X-rays may be necessary to confirm that there is not a fracture in one of these bones. Sesamoidits can be treated with steroid injections, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. A dancer’s pad can also be used in your shoes to take the pressure off of these bones when walking.
Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) Tendinitis
This is an injury common in pointe dancers. Excessively putting your foot in a plantarflexed position, pointed towards the ground, causes inflammation and strain of the FHL tendon. This tendon courses around your lateral talar process (one of the bones that make up your ankle joint). For this reason you will feel pain in the back of your ankle joint. X-rays should be taken to evaluate your talar process. At times this piece of bone becomes enlarged or even breaks off, which could cause symptoms similar to FHL tendinits. FHL tendinitis can usually be successfully treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. When it becomes a chronic condition, sometimes surgery is needed release the tendon, remove inflammed tissue, or repair any small tears.
Dance puts extreme pressure on our feet. For this reason, injuries are very common. If you are having foot pain, call Hollowbrook Foot Specialists today at (845) 298-9074 for your appointment. We are serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls.