A wonderful social event and an excellent cardiovascular activity. Think of it both as an art form and athletic activity. Along with it, comes the aches, pains and potential foot injuries. Dancing requires muscular strength, endurance and balance. All of this puts a tremendous load on the feet and ankles. And of course, the kind of shoes one wears, especially women, increases these demands. One of the most common complaints is pain to the ball of the foot. A mild to moderate problem causes inflammation, otherwise known as metatarsalgia. Sometimes the pain feels like there is pinching between the bones of the forefoot. This pain is due to squeezing of the nerves, referred to as a neuroma. A more severe forefoot problem is a stress fracture where the bone actually fatigues and fractures from the excessive forces put upon it. Like any other athletic activity, keeping in shape and proper equipment is key. Besides strengthening exercises, stretching and maintaining flexibility will help avoid injury. And equipment … the shoes. Proper fitting shoes and accommodative padding will help avoid injury and chronic pain. Heel height is also an issue. The higher the heel, the more stress on the forefoot and an elevated chance of ankle sprains. So keep dancing the night away, but consider doing it with a sound body and appropriate shoe gear.
For more information, please contact the Port Townsend Foot and Ankle Center, 360-385-6486. We’re located at 204 Gaines Street.