Dancers should always be acutely aware of what is going on with their feet. This will help them to maintain them in good condition allow them to prevent injury from happening. Nevertheless, even the best laid plans can go astray and when injury does happen you must be prepared with the right information to help prevent it from getting worse and to help healing to take place.

It is typically easier to detect when an acute injury takes place. Acute injuries are those that are the result of a trip or fall or even when landing in the wrong way after a jump. Chronic injuries are those that develop over time and are generally caused by overuse or improper techniques.

Acute forms of ankle and foot injuries are ankle sprains and dancer’s fracture while chronic injuries consist of Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis and talar compression syndrome.

Sprains and strains are some of the most common injuries dancers experience. To tell the two apart,  you must know the difference between ligaments and tendons.

Ligaments are collagenous structures provide support for joints because they appear between bones. A ligament has very little stretch to it naturally, and injury occurs when it is stretched beyond its limits repeatedly or during a one-time event. This is called a sprain.

Tendons are made up of elastic tissue and connect bones to muscles. They help move bones by transferring the force produced by the muscle. Injury to a tendon is called a strain.

An ankle sprain is one of the most common of all injuries sustained by dancers and since they stretch ligaments, they can cause instability in the ankle area. This is particularly true when repeated injury occurs on the same ankle. This is why it is so important to always be aware of what is happening with your feet and ankles.

When injuries occur, doctors recommend the R.I.C.E. treatment. R.I.C.E. is the acronym used to describe Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Seeing a doctor when you receive an injury is advisable, but until you can get to yours, you should follow the R.I.C.E. treatment plan.

Being aware of what is going on with your feet will help you to take better care of them—helping you continue dancing without pain for years to come.