Ballet’s Damaging Effects On Feet

Ballet is a beautiful mix of art and athleticism. However, fifteen to twenty percent of ballet injuries involve the foot! Dancers are notorious for having painful, or even ugly feet due to the enormous amount of pressure that is put on the tips of the toes repetitively. Dancers essentially use their feet in ways that they were not made for, and if they are not careful this can lead to potentially career ending injuries.

Dancer’s fracture is a common injury in ballet and happens when landing from a jump on an inverted foot causing a fracture of the 5th metatarsal bone, which runs along the outer edge of the foot. Treatment for a Dancer’s fracture consists of ice, rest, elevation, immobilization, and rehabilitation. Sesamoiditis is also common among dancers. The sesamoids are bones that are underneath and behind the big toe. Sesamoiditis occurs when the tendon attaching these two bones get irritated and inflamed while the dancer is on demi point. A J shaped pad can be placed under the sesamoids to provide cushioning. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be helpful, as well as taking some time off to allow proper healing. Hallux valgus, or bunions can be seen in anyone, but have a tendency to occur much sooner in dancers. Bunions can be treated conservatively with orthotics, strengthening, and activity modification. Surgery is reserved for severe cases if there is significant pain involved. Hallux rigidus, or limitus causes a decreased range of motion at a joint, which most commonly occurs at the metatarsal phalangeal joint in dancers. Modifications to dance routines can be made to prevent further injury. Stretching, rest, and ice are often adequate treatment options for hallux rigidus. Lateral ankle sprains are almost inevitable in dance. Treatment of ankle sprains includes anti-inflammatory medication, ice, rest, wrapping with an ace bandage, immobilization with a CAM walker, and rarely surgery.

Important tips to prevent ballet’s damaging effects on feet are allowing adequate rest between workouts, and taking it slow when working on anything new. If at all possible, do not dance on hard or uneven surfaces. Most importantly, if you notice pain, then stop and rest!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

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By Columbus Podiatry & Surgery