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Stress Fractures in Dancers

In dance, there are many common injuries that can put a dancer out of class for weeks, even months in order to recover. We discussed a few of these in previous posts: Common Problems That Young Dancers Deal With and Treatments for Tendonitis. One of the most common issues that I continually see among dancers, especially young dancers, is that they don't take the necessary time off when they start to feel pain. Not caring for an injury when it is minor oftentimes leads to something much worse and requiring more time off for recovery.

Stress fractures are tiny breaks or cracks in the bone caused by overuse. The most common area that stress fractures occur in dancers is in the ankles and feet. The constant jumping, springing, pointing, and turning can stress the delicate bones in the feet. Dancers who are en pointe are more susceptible to stress fractures and need to take preventative action against them.

Depending on the severity of the stress fracture, it can take up to 8 weeks of recovery time. However, recovery time can increase if the fracture is left untreated for long periods of time. Remember, you don't want the stress fracture to become a full-blown break.

Bones, like muscles, get stronger the more you use them. However, bones can easily become weakened if you are not providing your body with enough rest time/recovery, vitamins and minerals, and hydration. Amenorrhea, diabetes, osteoporosis, and eating disorders can cause bone weakness.

Always visit your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

Mild fractures: slightly painful with a gradual onset of pain over time. Possible t