Have you been following Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars? Were you upset to see TV’s Extra host Maria Menounos eliminated in the semi-finals? Next week is the season finale to determine who will win the mirror ball trophy – Latin actor William Levy, Welsh mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins, or Green Bay Packer Donald Diver.
Due to DWTS, the popularity of ballroom dancing has grown. And, maybe you’re one of the many people who have put on your dancing shoes and have taken up ballroom dancing as a social activity.
However, what you may not realize is, dancing is a high-impact activity that places a great deal of stress on your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. Just look at the casualties on DWTS. Katherine Jenkins had a back spasm. William Levy had an ankle injury. Melissa Gilbert had a mild concussion. And, Maria Menounos has suffered from two broken ribs, an injured chin and a fractured foot.
Each dance requires a variety of precision movements that place a lot of stress on the body. The Samba and Cha Cha Cha use a lot of hip rotations and hip thrusts. Also, the Samba requires extreme stretching and bending of the back. In the Paso Doble, male dancers often do exaggerated jumps and landings. Then in the Jive, Quickstep, Foxtrot, Rumba and Waltz, dancers perform various types of footwork from fast to slow (but controlled) steps, placing a tremendous amount of stress on their feet and ankles.
Some common lower extremity injuries suffered by dancers include corns, calluses, bunions, stress fractures, twisted ankles, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, shin splints, muscle contractions in the legs, and pulled back muscles.
In order to prevent dance injuries from occurring, follow these tips:
- Wear properly fitted shoes designed for dancing. Shoes that are correctly fitted will reduce foot problems. Be aware that high heels can cause your pelvis to tilt so you lean forward, causing strain on your ankles. High heels also shift your center of mass so the majority of your weight is placed on the balls of your feet, leading to foot pain and strain on your legs. Refer to our Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on how to correctly fit your shoes.
- Properly stretch your muscles before dancing – include stretches for the feet, ankles and legs. Remember you need to build your strength and flexibility slowly and safely.
- Be aware of the type of surface you’re dancing on to prevent injuries. Sloped surfaces cause a lot of stress on your ankles in order to keep your body stabilized. Slippery surfaces cause your muscles to tense in an attempt to keep you from slipping. Sticky surfaces make you work harder, causing your muscles to tire faster.
- Take dance lessons to learn the correct movements and proper technique.
- Keep your body properly aligned at all times. Use your upper body and knees in order to land softly from jumps, spins and turns. Avoid flat-footed landings.
- Watch what you’re doing and what other dancers around you are doing. Injuries can often occur when you step on someone else’s feet or bump into others when you’re not paying attention to your surroundings.
- Don’t overdo it. It’s easy to overexert yourself dancing when you’re having a good time, especially if you’ve been drinking alcohol. So be aware when your feet or body hurts and sit out a few dances to rest.
- Drink plenty of water. Muscle cramps can occur due to a loss of fluid from heavy sweating. Additionally, alcohol dehydrates your body of fluids, so drink a glass of water following every alcoholic beverage.
- If you already suffer from foot conditions, like bunions, plantar fasciitis, arch or heel pain, wear custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles. ezWalker® insoles are biomechanically designed to realign your body, providing your feet with a proper foundation in your shoes. Custom insoles also increase your balance and stability while helping to reduce or eliminate foot pain.
Ballroom dancing can be a lot of fun and great exercise. But you’ll quickly lose the joy of dancing if your feet, ankles, legs and back hurt. By following these tips, you’ll reduce your risk of injuries so you can continue gliding across the dance floor.
For more information on ezWalker® Performance Insoles, visit our website. No matter what type of shoes you wear, there’s an ezWalker® to provide pain relief – on and off the dance floor. So order yours today! You’ve got nothing to lose but your pain.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.