Dancing & Foot Pain



Dancing is not only a beautiful art form and a great way to be physically active, but it’s also a demanding undertaking that shares one thing with all other sports: it can be hard on the body and cause discomfort and injury, especially in the feet.

The range of foot pain that can occur from dancing is quite broad, and common complaints include blisters, bunions, and corns. Cracked and bruised nails are not only painful but may also lead to infection. While these discomforts may be viewed as ‘mild’ when compared to the following list of injuries it should be remembered that problems of any type in the feet can be easily compounded if not properly cared for.

Here is a list of more serious conditions and injury that are often the cause behind dancing and foot pain:

Plantar Fasciitis: This painful condition occurs when the plantar tendon, which runs from the toes to the heel via the arch of the foot, becomes irritated and inflamed. It often occurs from tight muscles, overuse, and unorthodox foot mechanics. Pain is most intense upon waking and heel spurs may be evident as well.

Dancer’s Fracture: This is one of the most commonly occurring dance injuries. This fracture occurs on the outside of the foot (the fifth metatarsal) and is usually the result of landing badly from a jump, such as when the foot is turned in on impact. The injury is immediately evident and should be looked at right away.

Sesamoiditis: Sesamoids are two small bones beneath the big toe that act as a support for the supporting tendon. This tendon may become inflamed from overuse or misuse and tendonitis may result. The pain usually develops gradually and is most acute when the foot is being pointed or flexed.

Hallux Valugus and Bunion Development: This affliction is often found in the general population, but dancers tend to develop it at an unusually young age because they are dancing with incorrect posture and/or sub-par body and foot positioning. Many dancers must deal with over or under pronation or risk developing bone deformations, including bunions. If left untreated bunions can become painful and debilitating.

While it may seem that dancing and foot pain are necessarily linked steps can be taken to reduce risk of injury and discomfort. For instance, great care should be taken with footwear; different disciplines require different shoes for various reasons, so it pays to be well-informed before you go shopping. It’s also in your best interest to go to a specialty shop and have a proper fitting performed by an on-site professional.

Equal care should be taken outside of the studio, however, and using orthoses such as arch supports, cushioned insoles, and heel cups can relieve the daily pressures on your feet, thereby reducing the risk of injury when you are active. Elevating your feet regularly, foot and leg massages, and proper stretching of the lower limbs will also help to prevent discomfort and inflammation.

If have already experienced discomfort or would like to minimize the risks associated with dancing and foot pain then it’s best to make an appointment with a podiatrist who can examine your feet and help you treat any underlying conditions or foot disorders that may make you vulnerable to injury or pain.

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