Tendinitis, Sprains, and Fractures: Top 3 Dance Injuries in the Foot and Ankle
Posted by Jenn F. on Monday, August 3rd, 2015
With all the amateur dance competitions in full swing and a busy summer of shows for professional NY dancers, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine sees an increase in dancers coming in with hurting feet this time of year. Although dance is hard on all parts of the body, dance is a particularly dangerous sport for the feet. Repetitively training on hard surfaces for long hours– barefoot, in thin slippers, or in pointe shoes — increases the strain on tendons, muscles, joints and even bones. Fatigue and small missteps cause big problems for the dancer. That’s why our board-certified NY podiatrists treat a lot of tendonitis/tendinosis, ankle sprains, and fractures.
Tendonitis & Tendinosis
Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in properly addressing tendon issues in the feet.1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312643/ Tendinitis involves inflammation caused by micro-tears in the tendon when heavy or sudden forces pull at the tissues. More commonly, though, dancers suffer from tendinosis, which is a degeneration of tendon collagen in response to repetitive strain over time. Treatment for tendinitis usually involves anti-inflammatory medication and sometimes corticosteroid injections, with recovery occurring anywhere from several days to six weeks. On the other hand, injections inhibit collagen repair and should not be used for tendinosis. Instead, treatment for tendinosis involves rest, support, stretching, eccentric strengthening, ice and massage. Recovery can take as little as six weeks or as long as six months.
Ankle sprains occur most frequently when landing a jump and rolling the foot inward or outward while up on the toes.2http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ankle_sprain/article_em.htm A sprain involves damaged ligaments that have become either overstretched or torn. The pain and swelling can be so severe, dancers often mistake it for a fracture. Ordering an X-ray or CT scan will rule out the possibility of more extensive damage. We can do that right here in our offices, along with a physical exam to determine nerve or artery damage. First-line treatments involve rest, ice, compression and elevation — which we will direct you on how to do properly — as well as anti-inflammatory medication for pain. Casting is rarely required, but we often recommend wearing a brace for additional stability. After an initial rest period of approximately two weeks, our team of experts can help you with rehabilitative exercises that strengthen the ligaments and improve flexibility.
Dancers sustain both acute traumatic fractures and chronic stress fractures. An incorrect landing after a jump or the repetitive motions of dance and training errors could lead to a progressive weakening of the foot bones. Nutrition and bone health plays a strong role in the development of stress fractures as well. Our approach takes a holistic approach to treatment to not only stabilize and repair the trauma, but also to strengthen the foot bones and help you prevent future injury. After taking an X-ray or bone scan to assess the damage, we may cast or brace and recommend other devices for off-loading weight like hands-free crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, or walking boots. Whenever possible, we seek active recovery to maintain flexibility as you heal. We offer the latest pain-reducing, bone-stimulating therapies using lasers, ultrasound and platelet rich plasma. Should your case be one of the few that requires surgery, you are in good hands with our experienced podiatric surgeons who have performed thousands of internal fixation surgeries and are trained in the latest techniques. Approximate recovery time is six to eight weeks, followed by a period of physical therapy. The worst cases take up to six months for complete healing to take place.
Dancing Injury Treatment in NYC
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is fully equipped with diagnostic tools, pain-relieving therapies and knowledgeable foot and ankle specialists who treat dance injuries at the root cause. We look for the most affordable and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, but we have also performed thousands of foot and ankle surgeries. In addition to treating these more serious injuries, we also take care of dancer’s feet injured by corns, calluses, blisters, foot fungus and bunions. Contact our Manhattan or Westchester offices for immediate assistance with an acute or chronic dance injury.
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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.