If you suffer from foot or heel pain that interferes with your, then this article is a must read!
As a dance student, you enjoy many physical health benefits, including greater mobility, coordination, strength, and flexibility, which delay the aches and pains of ageing.
But you may also be open to chronic injuries that are less likely to trouble the non-dancing population, because you are using your muscles and tendons more than the average person. It’s important for you to recognise a chronic injury, which can creep up so slowly that you don’t really notice it happening at first.
- Avoid chronic injuries in the first place
- Recognise when you are developing a chronic injury
- Know how to fix it when the injury has developed
Since quite a few people have mentioned to me recently that they suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, I asked Jacki Eads, the resident dancer/physiotherapist at MyPhysioSA, if she could put together some info about it to help you recognise it and get it treated.
by Jackie Eads
Could your foot or heel pain be plantar fasciitis?
The most common cause of heel or arch of foot pain in adults is plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue on the base of your foot. It runs from the heel to the ball and helps to support the arch of the foot in weight bearing. Plantar fasciitis is simply an inflammation of this connective tissue. It most commonly presents as pain under the heel that can run up under the arch of the foot, with a feeling of tightness.
It may be worse first thing in the morning getting out of bed or when you stand up after a long period of sitting. It can present in one or both feet and may come on gradually over time without an acute injury.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by overload to the plantar fascia, due to inadequate strength in the muscles that support the arch of the foot or poor footwear.
Plantar fasciitis may occur if you have a sudden increase in activity levels such as:
- returning to dance after time off
- adding a second or third dance class into your week
- an increase in time spent jumping during class (allegro, grand allegro)
- taking up or increasing pointe work
- other fitness activities like running
- jobs that involve a lot of standing or walking.
How to treat plantar fasciitis?
Increasing muscle strength and addressing tight fascia through the lower limb is the most important treatment for long term management of plantar fasciitis. While it heals, the plantar fascia must also be gently offloaded and supported.
A myPhysioSA Physiotherapist can:
- Use manual therapies such as soft tissue work and dry needling to ease pain
- Assess your biomechanics and put together a targeted home exercise program
- Address your footwear and possibly fit orthotics for support
- Use tape to offload the plantar fascia and provide support
- And most importantly suggest how to modify your dance class so you can still participate!
Improving your lower limb and foot strength so you are working with correct biomechanics and control will help with all aspects of your dancing for years to come.