Home > Blog > The Nutcracker, Ballet, and Heel Pain

Care for Dancing FeetDid you know that the famous Nutcracker Ballet was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 17th, 1892? Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky was commissioned to compose music for it, and would you believe it was a flop? Audiences and critics gave it thumbs down, but it gained popularity over time and was first performed in the U.S. in 1944 by the San Francisco Opera Ballet.

The amount of intense training and rigorous discipline a ballet dancer goes through is no secret. Feet are primary targets. Even though designed to withstand an extreme amount of stress, the demands on feet during ballet can be extreme, and there are times when it is too much. One of the conditions many dancers experience is something called Posterior Impingement Syndrome. Known in the “real world” as dancer’s heel, this injury occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the ankle become compressed. This compression is typically caused by a bump or bony formation behind the ankle.

This syndrome, which is usually a result of repetitive stress on the foot and ankle, can cause significant pain and discomfort. A dancer will usually feel pain when trying to point the affected foot, when going up on relevé, and when pushing off for or landing a jump. For treatment, it is important to reduce stress on the painful foot. Stretching exercises that target the compressed tissues, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles are also beneficial. For severe cases, surgery may be required to fully alleviate symptoms and allow dancers to get back their normal foot health.

We treat athletes of all sorts at our podiatric office. Whether you are a dancer, runner, soccer player or weekend warrior – contact Chiropodist Tony Abbott for help if you are having a foot problem. Call Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON at (705) 444-9929. 

Photo Credit: Bina Sveda