Friday, 23 February 2018

4 Conditions Faced by Ballet Dancers that Podiatrists Can Help with

Leaping in your Pointe shoes or maneuvering those highly athletic moves may give you an adrenaline rush as a ballet dancer, but they could be causing you foot pain and injuries too. From improper technique and fatigues to wearing toe shoes or thin slippers that aren’t designed to absorb shock (and thus making your lower extremities absorb most forces of impact), there are several factors that can make your life and especially, your feet, prone to problems and injuries. Here are four such common foot conditions that a podiatrist can help you with:
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1. Corns and calluses: Ill-fitting shoes that trigger fiction between your feet and the shoes, or wearing pointe shoes without breaking them in, can cause corns and calluses. Apart from being painful and interfering with your performance, these may even cause ulcers, if left untreated. If you already suffer from corns or calluses, a podiatrist can help treat and remove them. If you aren’t yet affected by these conditions, a podiatrist can help you select the right shoes, suggest tips on proper foot care and even offer insights into breaking in pointe shoes the right way to prevent corns and calluses.

2. Cuboid syndrome: This condition is triggered when the ligaments and joint close to your foot’s cuboid bone become torn or injured. When you perform pirouettes or jumps, your foot may sometimes fail to hold its proper alignment, which in turn may cause cuboid syndrome. With joint manipulation, assessing your technique, strapping, and use of in-shoe devices for offloading pressure, a podiatrist can help you continue with your dance moves while letting the injured region get healed.

3. Epiphysitis: Extreme bio mechanical demands that ballet places on the dancer may cause this condition when the first metatarsalphalangeal joint is subjected to extensive (90 to 100 degrees of) dorsiflexion. Epiphysitis is characterized by inflammation, tenderness and pain that subside with rest. A podiatrist can help by suggesting modified activities that you should continue with for four to five weeks until your symptoms subside. After this, your foot doctor would let you resume your normal routine gradually, based on your tolerance level.

4. Stress fractures: Ballet’s repetitive movements often trigger stress fractures, particularly of the metatarsals and toes. When diagnosed with a stress fracture, your podiatrist would suggest you rest, to let your bone get healed properly. This is usually followed by a series of rehabilitation exercises (dance-specific) that would let you return to your dance routine sans any discomfort or pain. Since healing bones is a long procedure that can take about six weeks, consulting a podiatrist is the best way to keep yourself well-conditioned (by following the advised strategies and exercises) while letting your injured bone have the rest necessary for its healing.

Ignoring your foot pain or dancing with troubling issues can often worsen the situation and may even threaten your career as a professional, or even force you to stay away from your dancing shoes in case you are a hobbyist. So, it’s best to consult a podiatrist at the first signs of a problem to make sure the root cause is diagnosed the right way and treated promptly. After all, you don’t want to hang up your dancing shoes due to a foot injury or serious foot condition, right?