The Running Doctor: Watch out when dancing
Have you ever watched "Dancing with the Stars," the popular television show? Since the start of this show there have been a great number of foot and ankle injuries. Now local groups are sponsoring events with local celebrities.
The most common types of dance related foot and ankle problems are overuse injuries which occur with the repetitive movement in dance. Repetitive dance movements cause tremendous force on the lower extremities. Strength and flexibility is crucial and the proper supportive dance shoes are necessary to support and protect feet and ankles.
The excitement of dance that this show has created has inspired some fast movements with accompanying twists and turns. These, in turn, cause many injuries. Some of the Dancing with the Stars contestants had injuries that ranged from fractured toes to torn tissues.
Foot Stress Fracture which was caused by repeated impact and stress that led to small cracks and then to stress fractures. Dancers must watch for pain and swelling which is a signal of pre-stress fractures.
Broken Toe. These are not uncommon in any sport, including long walks. The dancer must watch for swelling, stiffness and a deformed rotated shape. This is an indication of a broken toe.
Many dancers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon due to the explosive forces of jumping when dancing. It can cause a complete tear or Achilles tendonitis.
The following advice may help you enjoy dancing without seeing stars.
Always progress slowly in moderation at any new activity. Wear the proper shoe gear. Orthotics are a necessity if you have foot imbalances or are prone to injury. Discontinue the activities at the first sign of pain and seek professional help.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons, has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and is a member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute.