Common Tap Dance Injuries and How To Prevent Them

Common Tap Dance Injuries and How To Prevent Them

Mar 30 , 2021

Erandika Mohanathasan

Tags - How To Prevent Tap Dance Injuries 

Tap dance can be performed alone and the rhythmical sounds are attained from small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes. 

It is argued, tap dancers use their feet more than any other dancer. 

As a result, the percussive nature of tap can pose special issues when it comes to foot care and injuries. 

Below are some of the common issues that occur from tap dance and how you can prevent them.

1. Blisters

As a dancer, it’s inevitable that you will get blisters.

There are however, ways in which you can prevent these from appearing and should you get one, be treated properly.

Blisters appear when moisture, pressure and friction happen at the same time.

It’s recommended to tape your feet and toes, especially where blisters usually occur.

Doing so, will allow your shoes to give without causing friction to your feet.

If you find yourself with a blister, clean it using an antiseptic, drain the fluid, reapply antiseptic and then cover using a plaster - repeat until the blister has disappeared.

2. Ingrown Toenails

Dancers are more susceptible to ingrown toenails.

Consequently, from jumping to spinning, dancers’ feet get very hot and sweaty - the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. 

To begin with, ensure you are cutting your toenails correctly and to the appropriate length - cut straight along the top and avoid trimming the sides.

If you find yourself in pain due to an ingrown toenail, begin with soaking your feet in warm water.

Next, when your toe is clean, cut a small cotton swab and place it underneath your nail where it is growing against the skin.

Although painful, the growth will subside resulting in relief in the long term- finish by bandaging it up.

Lastly, if your ingrown toenail is causing severe pain, seek medical help.

3. Shin Splints

Tap dancers suffer from shin splints due to repeated stress on the lower legs and lack of cushioning from tap shoes. 

As a result, recovery times can vary from dancer to dancer.

In most cases, resting, icing and elevating your legs will be enough to ease the pain.

However, in severe cases you may need to undergo physical therapy.

To avoid shin splints, when you are not dancing, wear shoes with good arch support and avoid dancing on solid concrete and unsprung floors.

4. Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains can be traumatic for dancers - if you’ve sprained your ankle, you will know!

Properly functioning ankles are crucial to a dancers success.

It was found that 31% of injuries reported by dancers are associated with the ankle.

In the event that you sprain your ankle, physical therapy is effective for treating current injuries as well as preventing new ones from occurring.

Some treatments include, deep tissue massages, ultrasound, stretching and strengthening.

However, it’s always better to prevent the injury to begin with; avoid dancing on uneven surfaces, and work on your knowledge of your ankle and balance with your eyes closed.

5. Knee Pain 

While your feet and ankles take the brunt of the stress, body twists and constant pounding can take a toll on your knees.

Improper technique can lead to injury.

Therefore, it’s essential to turn out with control. 

With that in mind, focus on your abdominals, lower back muscles, thighs and glutes and maintain correct placement.

Suffering from painful knees?

Follow RICE (Rest, Ice Compression, Elevation)

Simply, rest for however long you need, ice your injury for up to 20 minutes at a time, use a compression bandage and keep your leg elevated.

If you are still not sure, see your doctor for more advice.

Final Thoughts

To summarise, it’s easy for dancers to neglect the needs of their bodies.

If you suffer from any of the above injuries, follow our advise and remember to be patient - you cannot rush biology.

Of course, injuries will happen - but take care of your body to the greatest ability and your body will thank you!

To find out more, get in touch.

In the meantime, check our range of Dance Heels.

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