5 Most Common Dance Injuries
What are the most common dance injuries?
- Ankle Sprains
- Hip Impingement
- Achilles Tendonitis
- “Trigger Toe”
- Ankle Impingement
1. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are a highly common traumatic injury among dancers. When a dancer sprains their ankle, the ligaments on the outside or inside of the foot get overstretched or twisted and may experience some tears. The cause of ankle sprains can be due to poorly fitted shoes, an improper landing from a jump, or misaligned ankles. Pain from ankle sprains may be on the outside or inside of the ankle and some bruising and swelling may occur. If someone has sprained their ankle, they are at high risk of doing it again so they must ensure they have built strength on those muscles to prevent it in the future. Some treatments include early mobility, joint protection, and physical therapy.
2. Hip Impingement
Hip impingement is common among dancers as the hip can be vulnerable from certain movements such as the splits or turnout. It occurs when the ball of the hip (femoral head) pinches up against the cup of the hip (acetabulum). Some signs of hip impingements include hip stiffness, hip pain, and pain in the front of the thigh or groin area. Some treatments may include rest, physical therapy, activity modification, and anti-inflammatory medicine. If none of these treatments help improve the conditions, the dancer may be a candidate for surgery.
3. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is when the achilles tendon becomes swollen, inflamed, or irritated. The achilles tendon is the band of tissue that connects the muscles in the calf to the heel. When dancing, the achilles tendon is active especially when pointing the foot or during relevé. The injury is common if dancers excessively train or use the improper technique. To prevent this from happening, dancers must stretch their achilles tendon with their foot in parallel. Some treatment includes rest, ice, physical therapy, exercises to strengthen the calf muscles, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
4. “Trigger Toe”
“Trigger toe” is when the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) is misused or overused because of poor technique. The flexor hallucis longus starts in the calf and travels to the ankle and bottom of the foot to attach at the end of the big toe. “Trigger toe” causes inflammation, swelling, and damage to the flexor hallucis longus which is active when pointing the big toe. Some ways to prevent this is to have good form and not to crunch the toes. Some treatment includes physical therapy, correct techniques, anti-inflammatory medicine, stretching, and massage.
5. Ankle Impingement
Ankle impingement is when the soft tissues get pinched at the ankle (talus and tibia). This can happen either in the back or front of the ankle. If the pain is at the front of the ankle it is called anterior pain and can be caused because of landing or plie. Some treatment includes physical therapy to improve techniques and mechanics. If the pain is at the back of the ankle, it is called posterior pain and can be caused by relevé or tendu. Some treatments include physical therapy to improve techniques and mechanics. Surgery may be needed if there is a bone spur between the back of the tibia and heel.