Dance Injury Information
Common Dance Injuries
Achilles Tendinosis- Presents as pain above the heel that increases with activity or stretching. If the pain has been present for more than 2 weeks you may experience pain/stiffness in the morning or at the beginning of an activity until warmed up. Sometimes there is swelling over the area, but not always. Proper warm-up, stretching, and proper shoes can help to prevent achilles issues. At home management includes Ice, pain free calf stretching (both bent knee and straight leg) and switching to non weight bearing activities for 1-2 weeks is advisable.
Bunions/Hallux Valgus- Presents as pain where the big toe joins the foot. A bunion is an inflammation of the joint capsule and tissues whereas Hallux Valgus involves the big toe deviating towards the outside of the foot. 80% of Hallux Valgus are pain free. At home management includes ice and using a bunion pad/silicone toe spreader/or night splint to help protect and hold the joint in position.
Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) tendinopathy/Trigger Toe- Presents as pain in the ankle joint, on the medial side or down into the medial foot /big toe. There is initially pain with movement that gets better or goes away as you warm up. With Trigger toe the big toe can get stuck in flexion due to injury to the FHL. Improper technique, foot pronation, and excessive stretching can contribute to FHL issues. At home management includes ice, taping/support, and strengthening the toe and foot intrinsics can help the improve the condition.
Hammer Toe- Presents as pain in the toe, most commonly the second toe, and it is often secondary to Hallux Valgus or Morton's Neuroma. At home management can include taping or a night splint, stretching toe extensors and flexors, and proper footwear.
Morton’s Neuroma- Presents as pain, numbness, and or abnormal feeling on the bottom of the foot and between two toes. Often feels like you have a pebble in your shoe. At home management includes a pad or tape for support, ice, and foot intrinsic exercises.
MTSS (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)- presents as pain on the inside of the lower leg with exercise, and is more commonly referred to as “shin splints”. However “shin splints” is a catch-all term for pain in the shin and not an actual condition or specific diagnosis. MTSS involves the Tibialis Anterior and Flexor Digitorum longus and/or soleus muscles. The pain usually presents in the middle ⅓ of the tibia. Proper foot support, adequate warm-up, and gradual increase in training can help prevent MTSS. At home management includes ice, reducing intensity of activity, compression, gentle stretching, foot intrinsic exercises and taping for support.
Plantar fasciitis- Presents as pain on the bottom of the foot in the heel or midfoot arch region. Pain increases with initial standing (especially first thing in the morning) , walking, or running but improves as activity continues. It then gets worse at the end of the day or the next day but improves with rest. Proper footwear and stretching can help prevent it. At home management includes ice, NSAIDs, rolling the foot on a golf ball, intrinsic foot exercises, calf stretches, and taping or padding are helpful.
Posterior Ankle Impingement- Presents as chronic or recurrent posterior ankle pain caused or exacerbated with forced / hyper plantarflexion or push off manoeuvres. PAI can be caused by a number of factors including: osteochondritis, fractures, tenosynovitis, calcification of tissues. At home management includes ice, NSAIDs, rest, and avoidance of plantar flexion. Most serious cases would require casting or wearing a boot for 4-6 weeks. Strengthening and proper movement patterns once healing has occurred is key to return to dance safely.
Hip Labral Tears- A labral tear involves a tear or damage to the labrum surrounding your acetabulum (pelvis bone). This structure helps hold the femoral head in place as well as helping it move smoothly in its socket. Labral tears will present as hip pain and/or stiffness, pain in the buttocks or groin area, the feeling of being unsteady on your feet, and a clicking sound when moving the hip around. At home management includes rest, NSAIDs, gentle mobility and strengthening programs. In this situation, proper referral to a sports medicine physician and an orthopaedic surgeon is key as conservative treatment will only help limit symptoms, not fix the issue.
Snapping Hip- Presents as a click or snap accompanied with pain in the hip during movement. Depending on the location of the noise will determine which muscle is problematic. Snapping hip is not considered problematic if there is no accompanying pain with the click or snap. Hip hypermobility, muscle imbalances, pelvic dysfunction, and lumbar spine posture can all contribute to the development of snapping hip. At home care includes heat, stretching and strengthening of thigh muscles, and correction of low back posture.
Hip Impingement- Medically known as FAI (Femoroacetabular impingement); Presents as stiffness in the hip, groin, or thigh; the inability to flex the hip fully; pain in the groin area that worsens with the hip flexed. At home management involves stretching of the lower body
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