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Dr. Eric Bartel’s Foot and Ankle Injury Prevention Tips

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Dr. Eric Bartel’s Foot and Ankle Injury Prevention Tips

Putting your best feet forward

Poor footwear can contribute to foot injuries as well as those in the leg and spine. Wear shoes designed for dancing. They’ll help absorb impact and distribute your weight. Properly fitting dance shoes allow for foot flexibility while also giving support to your feet; boots, sneakers, and spiked heels are definitely not recommended!

Shock Value

Your feet act as shock absorbers for the rest of your body. Warming them – and the rest of your body – up with stretches is vital. Stretching fosters circulation, increases muscle and tendon length and range of motion, and reduces muscle tension. It’s also important to warm up to specific dance moves, as well as cool down from them. Avoid going from one challenging move to the next without warming into or out of it.

Slip sliding away

Sloping or slippery floors may cause you to tighten your foot muscles in order to grip the floor. And a sticky floor can create too much resistance to your movements. Either scenario can lead to muscle fatigue and the risk of falling. Be sure to consider the traction of the floors you’re dancing on.

Consider all the angles

Turning your foot too far in or out can cause ankle sprains, fractures, dislocations, and tendonitis. Even basic movements can create problems if you lose your balance, and put too much pressure on your ankle to turn it. Always take care not to over-angle your ankles, especially during spins.

One spin forward, one step back

When you push on the ground, guess what? It pushes back with equal force! So when you come out of any spin, take a step back on the foot on which you spun to distribute the force. You’ll prevent excessive wear and tear on your feet.

Plenty of rest for the sure-footed

Estimates suggest that one third of reported sports injuries are associated with overuse, and that the majority of these injuries affect the ankle, foot, or knee. So if you’re fatigued from a previous injury, or just plain tired and sore, it’s the perfect time to take a break, and get some rest.

What’s up, doc?

Consult your physician prior to the start of any dance class if you have a pre-existing condition that may predispose you to ankle sprains. Something minor can very quickly become a serious injury; and if you experience continued discomfort, seek the advice of your doctor.