There are two injuries that dancers are prone to; ankle sprains and Posterior Impingement Syndrome. If you are a dancer, give your ankle a rest and exercise your brain on these dance-related ankle injuries.
Dance is a highly demanding activity that pushes the bounds of our natural movement. When we dance we contort our bodies into positions that require extraordinary flexibility, control, power, and endurance. As a result, dance-related injuries are not uncommon. Up to 90% of dancers will experience an injury at some point.
Ankle injuries are the most common traumatic injuries of dancers. Although mild ankle sprains do not result in long-term disability, a significant number fail to heal completely thereby leaving the ankle in a weakened state. When mild ankle sprains are left untreated residual symptoms may persist for years. A pre-existing ankle sprain is the number one predictor for subsequent ankle sprains in dancers.
Most commonly reported symptoms:
Ballet dancers place stress on their ankles by assuming prolonged extreme foot positions. For example, when a dancer is en pointe (dancing on their tippy toes) extreme pressure centers on the ankle. This focused pressure taxes surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments as the ankle works to stabilize the dancer. As a result, ballet dancers have particularly stressed ankles, which over time weakens the ankle and creates an advanced risk of ankle-related injuries.
Ankle sprains commonly lead to chronic ankle instability. Additionally, by dancing we place continuous and advanced stress on the ankle thereby leading to tendon overuse and tendinitis.
Dancers who have rolled their ankle may suffer a sprain of some degree. Upon rolling the ankle there may have been a “pop” sound, and symptoms of a spain include immediate pain, swelling and bruising along the outside of the ankle. Dancers typically experience such an ankle injury when landing a jump or after a combination of rapid foot movements.
Patients with a suspected ankle sprain are first given a thorough physical exam, and possibly additional tests to rule out more severe injuries (bone fractures, structural alignment issues, and/or tendon and ligament damage).
3.Contrast temperature therapy
1.Proprioceptive strengthening exercises
2.Physical therapy including ultrasound
3.3.Diagnostic or therapeutic arthroscopy
Posterior Impingement Syndrome
Anatomy of the Ankle Joint
The ankle joint comprises the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) and the anklebone (talus), which rests on the heelbone (calcaneus). The anklebone and heelbone form the subtalar joint. There are two small bones (tuberosities) that protrude from the back of the anklebone. In approximately 15% of people one of these small protruding bones is not connected to the anklebone, forming an os trigonum. This disconnect can impair ankle function, resulting in what is called impingement syndrome.
Posterior impingement syndrome is an impingement at the back of the ankle between the leg bone and anklebone. Here, the anklebone becomes pinched between the leg bone and heelbone thereby causing pain.
The added stress of dancing may exasperate this condition resulting in pain and tenderness at the back of the ankle. Straightening and pointing the foot, which pushes the ankle to flex to the very extreme bound of its range of motion, will trigger pain.
In ballet dancers, continued turnouts of the foot can increase the likelihood of this condition. When dancers who continuously rise up on their toes the foot points toward its downward extreme, which forces the os trigonum to become sandwiched between the leg bone and heelbone.
•Thorough physical exam
•Radiographs will show bone spurs as well as an os trigonum
5.Possible surgical intervention to remove os trigonum
The ankle doctors and surgeons at University Foot and Ankle Institute want to help keep you dancing. If you are experiencing pain or suspect an ankle injury, contact the official consulting physicians for the Los Angeles Ballet group- University Foot and Ankle Institute of Southern California!