Ankle Sprains for the Dancer

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Ankle Sprains for the Dancer Ankles are one of the many body parts that have the highest incidence of injury by the performance of dance. Ankle sprains are one of the most common sprains occurring to the dancer. Even though structurally the ankle may be considered a moderately strong joint, it is subject to sudden twists, especially when the dancer steps on some irregular surface. Serious injury occurring to joints or bones result initially from impact forces, with carelessness and fatigue playing a major role. Late in the practice day or just before an opening performance when the dancer is trying most for perfection, seems to be the time when most serious injuries occur. The older the dancer the more susceptible he or she is to serious joint and bone injuries. Many ankle injuries may be directly attributed to dancing on a too hard surface, or a too soft surface. Going to pointe before a dancer is ready can also be detrimental because if proper strength is lacking, sprained ankles can result. The sprain is primarily an injury to the ligamentous supportive structures of a joint. It seldom occurs without affecting muscle tendons crossing the joint. The sprain is categorized into first, second, and third degrees of intensity. The intensity of a sprain is best determined by the extent of the dancer^s disability as well as the tenderness elicited by feel or palpation and the amount of hemorrhage and swelling present. A dancer with a second or third degree sprain must routinely be referred to a physician for x-ray examination and diagnosis, because fracture is commonly associated with a twisted joint. A joint that has lost its ability to function for more than several minutes must be considered to have either a second or a third degree sprain. The highest incidence of injury is to the outside aspect of the ankle and is called inversion sprain of the ankle. This happens when the dancer turns the foot inward, placing an abnormal stretch on the outer ankle ligament. for the dancer with flat feet and/or pronated feet, inside sprains are more common and more serious. Usually a dancer has a high level of flexibility in the ankle region, and it takes a great deal of force to actually cause a sprain. If this force is great enough, ligaments will be torn and even a part of the outer ankle bone may be pulled away.

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