Common foot problems for dancers

Here are some common problems that dancers experience, and some of the treatments available.

1. Bunion – Gradual onset of foot pain on the outside of the big toe or ball of foot. Pain increases with weight bearing, pressure, or even just touching the area. This injury is often associated with other postural and or biomechanical faults involving other joints (most often a tendency to pronate, or roll-in, during turned-out positions).
Treatment: If caught early, treat with, low level laser, anti inflammatory drugs, strengthening exercises, stretching, a toe spacer, orthotic prescription. Severe cases may require surgical intervention.

2. Metatarsalgia – this is a catchall term meaning inflammation in the metatarsal area, it should be broken into specific diagnosis. The following all come under the umbrella of Metatarsalgia.

Capsulitis – Inflammation of the joint capsule where the toe joins the foot pain on walking sometimes increased space between toes. Treatment: padding to re-distribute pressure, low-level laser, anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, and exercises.

3. Morton’s Neuroma – pain under the 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads, often with pain tingling and numbness in the corresponding toes. Caused by nerve entrapment and thickening.
Treatment: metatarsal dome padding to foot or insole or orthotic with dome, low-level laser, steroid injection.

4. Plantar fasciitis – heel pain often worse first thing in the morning and during weight bearing activity.
Treatment: stretching, footwear alterations, insoles/orthotics steroid injection

5. Hallux rigidus – pain on the top of the big toe, restriction of movement in the joint, painful when bending the big toe, but usually OK when running.
Treatment: manipulations, low level laser, anti inflammatory drugs, alteration of footwear, in severe cases surgery.

6. Ingrown toenail – usually 1st toe, pain, swelling and inflammation, often worse at night in bed.
Treatment: often removing a small section of nail is sufficient, but in severe or recurrent cases surgery to remove a little part of a nail permanently.

7. Sesamoiditis – pain under the ball of the foot, area is not usually swollen, but it is painful to walk dance on.
Treatment: re-distributive padding anti inflammatories, low level laser.insoles/orthotics.