Salsa dancers know only too well, that whilst this highly aerobic exercise may certainly be enjoyable and an excellent way to stay fit, it does not come without its fair share of injuries.
These injuries are primarily due to “repetitive strain”, and the most common areas affected are the knees, ankles and feet, and even the elbow. Generally they present in for the form of tendonitis, which is an area of inflammation where the muscle narrows, forming a tendon, where it attaches to the bone. This can be considerably painful and extremely limiting. It can certainly mean that dancers have to, not only rest from this activity for a period of weeks, but it can also affect day to day function. Pain can be felt when walking downstairs or even on taking the first few steps of the day after waking. This can occur particularly at the heel and also at the patella-femoral joint at the knee.
The treatment plan consists of a period of rest, ice, stretches and exercise. Early physiotherapy treatment is strongly advised to settle down the inflammation and promote good healing of the tendon, by using soft tissue work, ultrasound, acupuncture and taping to name but a few. It is always important to keep yourself flexible with stretches prior to dancing, to warm up prior to dancing and to wear good supportive footwear.
By Shelley Abraham MSc MCSP SRP
OWNER OF PHYSIO FITNESS