Did You Know...
That 65% of dance injuries occur to the foot and ankle? Of these, "Dancer's Tendonitis" is one of the most common.
Pain is often experienced along the inside aspect of the ankle as well as on the bottom of the big toe. This pain can be a tendonitis or inflammation of the flexor hallicus longus (FHL). The FHL is a muscle that starts up in the calf area of the lower leg. The tendon wraps posterior (behind) to the medial malleolus (boney bump at the ankle), underneath the foot and to the big toe.
The muscle helps you to flex or curl you big toe and assists with pointing your foot. It also assists with maintaining the medial arch of your foot.
Tendonitis of any kind is typically caused by overuse, weakness of the muscle or minor trauma. This inflammation can lead to increased weakness, pain and inability to functionally move the joint or joints it is associated with.
While dancing with this injury, you may feel pain during demi-pointe work, grande plié or during take off and landing of jumps.
- Rest is always advised with tendonitis, however, not always possible.
- Proper stretching of the FHL.
- Massage can alleviate pain in the tendon and increase blood flow to speed up healing.
- Ice bath to significantly decrease inflammation.
- Proper stretching and warm up of the feet and legs.
- Towel crunches or picking up of marbles with the toes to strengthen the FHL.
- Preventative and preemptive icing of the feet and ankles after rehearsal.
Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Until next month.
San Antonio Center for Physical Therapy
Dr. Nietz and Dr. Jarrett