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Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury for Dancers

Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury for Dancers


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Published by aerialartsasia8383

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: aerialartsasia8383 on Mar 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What is it?

A subluxation is a minor dislocation. Subtalar subluxation occurs in the ankle, just below
the talus (the bone that, with the shin bones, forms the ankle — see the illustration on
page 101). The talus and the adjoining bones are slightly displaced from their normal
position. The joint surfaces still touch, but not in normal relation to one other.

Signs and symptoms

The dancer will notice pain in the area of the heel and the mid-foot. In some cases,
dancers describe a strange sensation of forward shifting of the painful foot (Menetry and
Fritschy 1999). Immediately after a subtalar subluxation, dancing is no longer possible
and walking may also be difficult. Sharp pain may accompany these signs.

What causes it?

In a 1999 study, Menetry and Fritschy found that all the subtalar subluxations in their
study occurred after a grand plié on pointe or at the landing of a jump on demi-pointe.
Further, all occurred without any of the mechanisms of an ankle sprain.
When the dancer performs the two movements described above, muscles in one direction
are activated and, as the foot lands, an opposite set of muscles is activated to ensure that
balance is maintained and the foot is stabilized. The result is a force that separates the


Seek treatment for a subtalar subluxation immediately after the sensation described above
in “Signs and Symptoms” occurs. Treatment involves manipulation of the ankle to put it
back into place (Menetry and Fritschy 1999). Only medical professionals should perform
such manipulation, as the consequences of treatment by a non-professional can be
detrimental to a dancer’s career. The dancer can usually resume dancing within a few
weeks following taping and rehabilitation.


In many cases subtalar subluxation, like many other injuries, occurs when dancers push
themselves and their muscles to the limits. When this occurs, they may lose concentration
or their muscles may not be able to maintain proper technique because of fatigue. The
key to prevention is to rest the body adequately and take steps to prevent exhaustion, such
as keeping hydrated. Further, a balanced stretching and strengthening program will help
keep the ankle stable and flexible.

Additional information

For more information, refer to the following sections:
• “Risk Factors,”


• “General Prevention and Treatment,”
• “Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury for Dancers,”
• “RICE Treatment Protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation),”


Menetry, J., and D. Fritschy. 1999. Subtalar subluxation in ballet dancers. American
Journal of Sports Medicine 27 (2): 143–149.
Watkins, J. 1999. Structure and function of the musculoskeletal system. Windsor, Ont.:
Human Kinetics Publishing.

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