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Ankle Injuries in Dancers

Vosseller, J. Turner MD; Dennis, Elizabeth R. MD; Bronner, Shaw PhD, PT, OCS

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: August 15, 2019 - Volume 27 - Issue 16 - p 582–589
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00596
Review Article

The term dance encompasses a broad range of different styles; much of the orthopaedic literature has focused on ballet dancers. Injury is common in dancers at all levels, and many serious dancers sustain multiple injuries as they progress through their career. Foot and ankle injuries are among the most common injuries experienced by dancers. These injuries include those that are specific to dancers because of the unique physical maneuvers required to effectively perform, but they can also include common injuries that may require relatively different treatment because of the physical demands of the dancer. Os trigonum syndrome and flexor hallucis longus tenosynovitis generally fall into the former category as they are injuries that are more prevalent in dancers due to the extreme plantarflexion involved in dancing, especially ballet, and the relative demand placed on the toe flexors, most notably the flexor hallucis longus. On the other hand, anterior ankle impingement occurs both in dancers and in the general public. In many cases, a team approach to treatment with knowledgeable physical therapists can obviate the need for surgical treatment. If surgical treatment proves necessary, good results can be achieved with sound surgical technique and a well thought-out rehabilitation program.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (Dr. Vosseller and Dr. Dennis), Columbia University Medical Center, and The ADAM Center (Dr. Bronner), The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York city, NY.

Dr. Vosseller serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and Foot and Ankle Orthopaedics; has received research or institutional support from Acumed, LLC; is a member of a speakers' bureau or has made paid presentations on behalf of Arthrex, Inc; serves as a paid consultant to DJ Orthopaedics; has received royalties from New Clip Technics. None of the following authors or any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Dr. Dennis, and Dr. Bronner.

© 2019 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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