Dancing is a beautiful artistic endeavor, but, unfortunately, it can cause a number of footrelated conditions in the artist. If you’re a dancer, whether it’s for fun or your profession, learn more about dancing and how it can affect your feet. It’s wise to maintain regular appointments with a trusted podiatrist to ensure the ongoing health of your feet.
How Dancing Puts Wear and Tear on Your Feet
Some people don’t realize that dancing is a very demanding sport. Dancers put as much wear, tear and strain on their feet as sports athletes do. Ballerinas, in particular, have to manage a variety of foot and toerelated complications because of their shoes and the need to dance on tiptoes. Ballroom dancers also spend hours on their feet, performing complex movements that involve their feet, toes, ankles and legs. Even hiphop and step dancers often have problems due to putting frequent pressure on certain areas of the feet and stomping down on them.
Common foot conditions related to dancing include:
- Corns and calluses
- Bruises, wounds and ulcers around the toes or underfoot
- Hammertoe syndrome
- Heel spurs/plantar fasciitis
- Missing toenails
Pull Out Your “Dancing Shoes”
The shoes that you wear while dancing can have a major effect on the health of your feet. Invest in shoes or orthotics that are specifically designed for the type of dancing that you enjoy—even if they are a bit more expensive than what you find in regular stores. For instance, female ballroom dancers need highheeled dancing shoes that can absorb shock, cushion the heel and relieve pressure on the parts of the foot that often come in hard contact with the floor. Flexible orthotic insoles are available for ballet shoes that can help give the feet more support.
Foot Therapy for Dancers
Regular visits to your podiatrist are also crucial to keeping your feet healthy when you’re a dancer. Podiatrists can help by administering physical therapy and foot exercises designed to strengthen the tendons and muscles of your feet. Ice massage and soaking the feet can also help to relieve symptoms. A podiatrist may also prescribe NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) for pain relief.
You can pursue the art of dancing without sacrificing the health and wellness of your feet. Schedule a visit with a podiatrist to talk about preventative solutions and relief of symptoms that you’re currently experiencing.
PAD, or Peripheral Arterial Disease, reduces blood circulation in the feet and legs. It can lead to a host of other serious physical problems if not treated and managed properly.
What is PAD?
PAD happens when the insides of the arteries experience a buildup of fatty deposits. Also known as plaque, these deposits reduce the blood flow to the legs and feet. Like the plaque that forms on your teeth, it is extremely detrimental to the tissues where it develops. The arteries harden and become narrow, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The disease presents as upper and lower leg pain during activity, foot or toe pain during rest, and ulcerated sores on your feet that heal very slowly. Some people do not experience pain, however.
As many as one in five Americans aged 70 and over are afflicted with this disease, and with it comes a markedly increased risk for death from a heart attack or stroke. Complications from PAD can also lead to amputations.
What causes PAD?
While diabetes and high blood pressure can exacerbate PAD, a person's habits can largely compound the problem. Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet are all contributing factors to PAD and the complications that come with it.
How is PAD treated?
Your podiatrist will perform a simple test that compares the blood pressure in your arm with that in your ankle. An abnormality warrants other tests to determine how extensive your PAD is. It can then be managed with medicines designed to prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Lifestyle changes are a must smoking cessation, an exercise regimen and a healthful diet are essential. Advanced cases may require surgery.
PAD is a serious disease, but maintaining a relationship with your podiatrist and committing to a healthier way of life can help control its effects.
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common foot problem that can affect anyone. Although data suggests that anywhere from 5% - 10% of Americans have some form of toenail fungus at any given time, many people are unaware that they have it or live with it for years without getting treatment, so the numbers are probably much higher. There are different types of fungal infections that affect toe and fingernails, and several causes and risk factors, the most common of which is living with someone who has it or walking barefoot on moist and damp surfaces, like the locker room or shower at the gym. The podiatrists at Kenneth R. Meisler & Associates in New York City offer laser treatment for toenail fungus.
Toenail Fungus Treatment in New York City
In many cases, toenail fungus can be treated with at home, over the counter remedies and self-care. However, depending on the severity and type of fungal infection, conservative treatments may be ineffective. If preventive or self-care methods are ineffective, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for treatment. Some of the most common toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral medication
- Topical treatments
- Laser treatment
- Surgical removal of the nail (reserved for cases where topical and other treatments are ineffective in clearing up a severe infection)
Kenneth R. Meisler & Associates offers PinPointe Foot Laser therapy, a non-invasive treatment that uses laser beams to kill the fungus embedded underneath your toenails. It is a simple outpatient procedure that does not require numbing or anesthesia, and exclusively targets the fungus without causing damage or irritation to your toenail or surrounding tissue. The number of treatments depends on the severity of the infection, but can be effective in as little as a single treatment for mild cases.
Find a Podiatrist in New York City
For more information about toenail fungus prevention and treatment for you and your family, contact our office by calling (212) 628-4444 to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist today.
Doing an online search for the real effects of ballet shoes on the feet will likely bring up some pretty scary images. However, it shouldn’t scare you away from pursuing ballet—it is a beautiful and expressive form of dance that can be very rewarding. If you’re a ballerina or you’re thinking about enrolling your child in ballet classes, learn more about how ballet shoes can affect the feet. You can then take proper steps to protect your feet going forward.
Wearing Ballet Shoes
Ballet shoes are designed for utility, not for the benefit of your feet. They are made of canvas and silk material with lace straps that wrap around the ankles. Each shoe shapes the toes and feet so that they can be trained in a certain formation for dancing. Ballet dancers often have to get on tippy toes at a moment’s notice to keep up with choreography, so their shoes have to support this action, just as sneakers support the quick actions of tennis players.
What Can Ballet Shoes Do to Your Feet?
Podiatrists often treat ballerinas and other dancers who have serious foot problems. Here are a few issues that can develop as a result of wearing ballet shoes:
- Hammertoes (the toes begin to bend forward, and in some cases become stuck in that position).
- Corns, calluses
- Blisters, ulcers, sores and wounds
- Bunions (the bone on the inside of the foot begins to move outward)
- Nail fungus and sometimes loss of toenails
Many ballerinas suffer these foot problems in silence, but the best course of action is to begin seeing a qualified podiatrist early in your career. Ongoing care and foot therapy can help minimize the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet.
Caring for Your Feet as a Ballerina
Treatments are available at the podiatrist’s office that can give your feet relief from the symptoms of dancing and wearing ballet shoes. Ulcers must be drained and disinfected. Hammertoes can be corrected with splints or prescribing orthotic shoes to wear when not dancing. Treatments are also available to eliminate toenail fungus. Another top goal of podiatry for ballerinas is pain management—exercises and medications can help relieve pain.
Getting help from a podiatrist is crucial if you want to reduce the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet. It’s never too late to seek help from a foot professional who understands these issues, so schedule a consultation appointment today.
One common foot issue that often prompts patients to visit the podiatrist is hammertoe. Hammertoe is a foot condition that is not only painful, but also embarrassing for patients who want to wear certain types of shoes and show off their feet. Learn more about what causes hammertoe and how it can be resolved at your podiatrist’s office.
What Is a Hammertoe?
The muscles of your toe help keep it in proper alignment so that it lies straight, the same way that your fingers look when you lay them out on a table. But in some cases, the joints in the toe become weakened, causing the top end of the toe to bend forward. This is called hammertoe—it usually happens to one or all of the middle three toes of the foot. In some cases the hammertoe is flexible, meaning that the toe can be manually bent back up into position, but in other cases it is rigid and can’t be adjusted. Hammertoe makes it difficult or even impossible to comfortably wear and walk in everyday shoes.
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is most commonly caused by wearing bad shoes for extended periods of time. It is a problem often found in women because they like to wear attractive high heels that do unfortunate things to their feet. The design of many high heeled shoes causes the feet and toes to push up against the rigid front and bend them into the shape of a hammertoe. In some cases, people are more prone to hammertoe due to genetics or because of medical condition, like diabetes.
Treatments for Hammertoe
The treatment plan of choice for hammertoe is a combination of foot exercises, physical therapy and custommade orthotic shoes or inserts. Placing a splint on the affected toe can also help it heal back into its correct position. If the area is painful, your podiatrist may also administer cortisone injections. In the case of rigid hammertoe, where you lose the ability to move the toe up or down, surgery may be necessary to fix the joint.
Hammertoe is an embarrassing foot problem, but the good news is that it can be corrected or relieved in most cases. It is best treated when you catch it in its early stages, so make an appointment with your podiatrist at the first signs of a bending toe.
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