There are a number of common dance injuries, but they can be categorized into five basic groups: injuries of the foot/ankle, knee, hamstring, hip, and back. In this article, I will discuss injuries of the foot and ankle. According to Podiatry Today (http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/3468), approximately 50% of the dance injuries are foot and ankle injuries, and most of these are due to overuse, as opposed to traumatic causes. This is because of the many repetitive movements in dance and the long hours spent in class and/or rehearsals. Ankle and foot injuries require immediate and ongoing attention, and continuing to dance with such injuries is not advised. Treatment typically includes the use of ice, rest, compression and elevation (RICE), and possibly immobilization. In some cases, daily stretching and an anti-inflammatory may also be prescribed. In more severe cases, steroids and even surgery may be recommended and extensive rehabilitation required.
Benefits of Solomon’s Seal Herbal Tincture & Salve
There is, however, an additional intervention that can prove most effective with acute or chronic ankle and foot injuries, or even be used preventively. Solomon’s Seal is an herb long known for its ability to strengthen, lubricate, and nourish tendons, ligaments, attachments and joints, tightening them if they are too loose and loosening them if they are too tight. Keep in mind that ligaments are tissues that connect bones to other bones, while a tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that most often connects muscle to bone. Healthy tendons and ligaments are able to withstand tension, but if they are too tight or too loose, injuries can result.
Solomon’s Seal also speeds recovery from bone injuries (broken, stressed, or fractured), calcifies and strengthens bones, and rebuilds damaged cartilage and connective tissue. In some case, it may replace the need for surgery or shorten the recovery time after surgery. Solomon’s Seal is best used in tincture form, but is also available in a penetrating salve. Using both the tincture and the salve together can be highly effective. Because Solomon’s Seal does not have side effects, it can be taken safely over a long period of time, if needed. It is, however, important not to exceed the recommended dose. Start with the lowest dose and work up over the course of a week or more. For example, if the dosage is 10-15 drops, 3 x daily, start with 10 drops twice a day, and gradually increase, as desired, to 15 drops, three times daily. Keep in mind that every body is unique, and thus will respond in its own special way.
While taking the straight Solomon’s Seal tincture may be the ideal place to start if you have one of the injuries listed below, the line of Cortesia Solomon’s Seal tinctures also includes six high-powered formulas that target specific conditions, such as Arthritis and Joint Repair (#1), Bone-Building and Bone Repair (#2), Cartilage & Tissue Repair (#3), Deep Pain & Tension Relief (#4), and the All-in-One Deep Healing formula (#6), which combines Tinctures #1,#2, and #3. Visit the Cortesia Solomon’s Seal website at www.solomonsseal.net for easy to understand product and ordering information.
Now let’s discuss symptoms and causes of various ankle and foot injuries that dancers typically sustain. The most common ankle injury is a Lateral Ankle Sprain, which could simply involve a micro-tear or excessive stretching of the ligament (1st degree). A more serious tear could cause inflammation, popping, and some instability (2nd degree), while a complete tear of the lateral ligament would cause significant instability (3rd degree). Wrong placement of foot, landing a jump improperly, or landing on an object or another dancers foot generally causes an ankle sprain. Additional factors may include fatigue or a momentary loss of concentration or balance.
Common Ankle Injuries for Dancers
(with appropriate Cortesia Solomon’s Seal formula in parenthesis)
- Trigger Toe (big toe clicks & sometimes gets stuck, requiring manual release) Caused by inflammation or partial rupture of the FHL tendon on the inside of the ankle, and a resulting inability of the tendon to glide smoothly in its protective sheath. (Use: Straight Solomon’s Seal Tincture)
- Achilles Tendonitis (heel and calf hurt, especially when jumping or running). Other tendons in the ankle can contract tendonitis, but the Achilles is the body’s longest tendon and the one most often ruptured – for dancers and non-dancers. The Achilles connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and supports plantar flexion of the foot to achieve releve and jumps. A healthy Achilles can withstand forces of 1,000 lbs or more, but when overloaded is prone to inflammation. This injury is caused by tight calf muscles, dancing on a hard surface, or returning to dance after a long period of rest. (Use: Straight Solomon’s Seal Tincture)
- Anterior Impingement Syndrome (full plie on one side is difficult and painful) Caused when there is direct, bone-on-bone contact at the top of the ankle, where the shinbone meets the ankle. This can result in a bony formation and swelling at the front of the ankle. (Use: Formula #2 Bone Building & Bone Repair)
- Posterior Impingement Syndrome (Dancer’s Heel) (pointing of foot and releve is painful) Caused by a bony formation or bump behind ankle, creating pain, inflammation, and compression of soft tissues at the back of the ankle when toe is pointed. (Use: Formula #6 All-in-One)
Common Foot Injuries for Dancers
(with appropriate Cortesia Solomon’s Seal formula in parenthesis)
- Plantar Fasciitis (an overuse injury affecting the sole of the foot and creating pain after weight-bearing exercise or when walking barefoot, especially in morning upon rising) Caused by inflammation of the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) that connects the heel bone to the base of the foot. May also be influenced by tightness in the calf or Achilles tendon, or dancing on a non-sprung floor. (Use: Formula #3 Cartilage & Tissue Repair)
- Sesamoiditis (pain under big toe while straightening or bending it, when dancer is on demi-pointe, and/or when walking barefoot). The tiny sesamoid bones, located beneath the forefoot near the big toe, provide a smooth surface over which the tendons controlling the big toe are located. These tendons can become inflamed, eventually causing sesamoiditis (a form of tendonitis). The possibility of a sesamoid fracture should also be explored. (Use: Straight Solomon’s Seal Tincture or Formula #2 Bone Building & Bone Repair [for fracture])
- Metatarsalgia (pain & tenderness along the ball of the foot) Caused by instability in the joints of the smaller toes, and loose tendons & ligaments from repeated strains and overstretching. (Use: Formula #1 Arthritis & Joint Repair)
- Bunion (Hallux Valgus) (big toe points progressively inward and is painful). This common condition comes on gradually, but can affect dancers even at an early age. Other biomechanical or postural faults may occur in the joints, but the cause of a bunion usually involves the tendency to pronate or roll-in during turned-out positions. (Use: Straight Solomon’s Seal Tincture or Formula #1 Arthritis & Joint Repair)
- Hallux Rigidus or Limitus (pain and/or restriction of movement in the joints of big toe, especially during full demi-pointe) Caused when a dancer lacks adequate mobility for the metatarsal phalangeal joint to form a 90-degree angle, and instead, the bones impinge on each other. Over time, bone spurs, inflammation, and further joint limitations/degeneration can occur. (Use: Formula #1 Arthritis & Joint Repair Tincture)
- Dancer’s (Jones) Fracture (fracture of the 5th metatarsal-the long bone on the outside of the foot) Caused typically by landing from a jump on a turned in foot, often creating pain and immediate swelling, as well as difficulty in walking. (Use: Formula #2 Bone Building and Bone Repair)
Visit the excellent website of The Harkness Center of Dance Injuries (link below) for specific treatment recommendations for each of the above injuries. Harkness Center for Dance Injuries (http://www.med.nyu.edu/hjd/harkness/patients/injuries/foot.html#achilles) recommends the following:
Top Ten Prevention Tips for Dancers
1. Proper training and teaching are essential to allow dancers of all ages to develop their skills without injury.
2. Take adequate rest to allow the body to heal itself from daily wear and tear.
3. Maintain energy levels by eating and drinking adequately (i.e. a healthy, nutritious diet and lots of water).
4. Conditioning and strengthening of the leg muscles that support the arch are crucial.
5. Try to avoid dancing on hard or uneven surfaces, which could cause injury.
6. Take care of your shoes!
7. Dancers should adopt new training schedules slowly.
8. Although not always possible when dancing, but more so off stage or out of class, wear supportive footwear, and if you need to wear orthotics, wear them as often as possible.
9. If dancers perform excessive pointe or demi-pointe work one day, they should focus on other types of work during the next workout.
10. Early recognition of symptoms is important. Stop activity if pain or swelling occurs. If the pain persists after a few days rest, consult a sports-medicine physician.
Practicing good prevention strategies, as listed above, is the best way to maintain health and wellness as a dancer, even if you have a rigorous practice schedule. But if you are injured, don’t assume that your injury will just heal on its own. Be proactive in consulting a professional and in caring for yourself properly so that further injury can be prevented. Then you’ll be dancing for joy for many years to come.
You can lean more about Cortesia Solomon’s Seal Tinctures and salves by visiting our informative website at www.solomonsseal.net .