I’m going to answer 2 questions – one at the top of the leg with a hip injury and another at the foot. Especially with foot injuries there is such potential for compensation and shifting your weight subtly in order to continue walking and dancing and so I encourage everyone to pay attention to the small tweaks and strains that can occur!
I have a 12-year old daughter who is very serious about her dance development and who has been concerned about pain in her big toe. While rehearsing for a show she hit her toe on her leg and has been complaining ever since. We have been to the doctor and have been given advice (such as Advil) but her pain continues. I’ve noticed that her toe is moving slightly towards the other toes while her bone remains fixed in its position. There must be some exercises she can do to strength that area.
Thank you, a concerned Mom
It sounds like your daughter has had a ‘turf toe’ injury. It is common in football players (and dancers) and usually is caused by either stubbing or jamming the toe as your daughter did. The challenge is in the recovery. The original injury creates soft tissue inflammation and that is why your doctor suggested doing an anti-inflammatory such as Advil. The challenge is your daughter has continued to be on her feet, both just walking and dancing, and often the joint doesn’t heal fully enough and is the cause of her continued pain.
You didn’t say how long ago the injury was but if her toe continues to have pain the doctor may choose to put her in a walking boot temporarily in order to give the joint a rest and allow it to heal. Icing 2 or 3 times a day along with other anti-inflammatory efforts would continue while she is in the boot.
As far as the big toe starting to move towards the other toes – you are right about thinking something needs to be strengthened. We want to prevent what sounds like the start of a bunion pattern – and you do that by strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the feet.
If you click HERE this will take you to a blog post where I have a short video on how to strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles. Tell her that if she cramps when she is doing it – it simply means she has found the weak intrinsics and with continued practice they will improve!
The primary concern is that she gets on top of this injury – instead of allowing it to become chronic. Bottom line – her big toe needs not to hurt!
Three months ago I was doing a heel stretch in one of the classes I assist in and my hip made a big cracking noise. It started to hurt but not that bad. But it still hurts today and I don’t know why. I sit in a straddle stretch and it hurts my hip when I stretch. Also, when I do a barre stretch or sit in my splits it hurts. Do you recommend any stretches to help it get back to normal?
Meghan, sometimes muscle strains can take a really long time to heal – and I’m not exactly sure what happened when you hear the hip crack or pop three months ago. It’s possible that you strained either an inner thigh muscle and/or the deep hip flexor (iliopsoas).
I would encourage you to stretch gently and consistently for these two muscle groups. Instead of sitting in the straddle position which creates discomfort try standing up and placing one leg on a chair and stretch the inner thigh muscles one side at a time.
For the iliopsoas muscle I would have you do one of the stretches outlined in the video clip below. Remember to breathe and move gentle and easily – listening to your body – stretching should never be painful!
Do your stretching when your muscles are warm – after class is a good time. Teachers and assistant teachers have to be careful about their demonstrating in class when you aren’t really warmed up!
Hope this helps…. and remember to comment below, especially if you have had similar injuries please share what you did that helped!
“Education is the key to injury prevention”