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Achilles Pain and Dancers: What can be done?

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

As a dancer, you use your body to create art and expression. The movements you perform are often demanding and require a lot of physical effort., precision and practice. One of the most common conditions we see with dancers in our clinic is pain around the achilles tendon.

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and enables movement such as pointing your toes (plantar flexion) and pushing off the ground when jumping. Achilles tendinopathy occurs when the tendon becomes irritated from repetitive motions (ie relieve) , leading to pain, stiffness, and difficulty with


Dancers are at increased risk of Achilles tendinopathy due to repetitive stress on the tendon from jumping and landing, running, and rapid changes of direction. In addition, dancers must also maintain flexibility in both their ankles, calves and lower extremity

The symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy may include pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in the ankle and calf. Theses symptoms are often just considered part of the wear and tear of being a dancer, but this not need be the case!

One of the most common things I hear from dancers is a reluctance to seek out care from medical providers. This is often due to a fear of having to stop dancing—especially if an upcoming performance is near. Gate City Physio seeks to keep you dancing as much as possible during the rehab process and prepare you both for performance as well as long term health!

The Dance Medicine services at Gate City Physio can help you return to dance in several ways.

First, we will take an in-depth evaluation, looking not only at your ankle/achilles but at your entire chain of movement and design a custom plan fit for your unique needs.Treatment may include exercises to strengthen and stretch the Achilles tendon,and manual therapy techniques like myofascial release and joint mobilizations. .

Secondly, we keep focused on your long term goals focusing on prevention strategies like warm-up routines, cool-down stretches and recovery methods. . Treatment may include exercises to strengthen and stretch the Achilles tendon,and manual therapy techniques like myofascial release and joint mobilizations.

In conclusion, Achilles tendinopathy is a common and potentially debilitating injury in dancers often face. Prompt diagnosis and treatment by a physical therapist specializing in dance injuries can help you recover quickly and safely, allowing you to continue performing with confidence and joy. So if you're a dancer experiencing Achilles pain or discomfort, don't hesitate to take the first step towards healing and reach out to Dr. Corey Hillman at Gate City Physio today!

Dr. Corey Hillman is a Physical Therapist who specializes in working with professional and amatuer musicians, dancers and performing artists seeking to perform at their best. He has worked with performers such as the Greensboro Ballet, Greensboro Opera and serves as the Dance Medicine Specialist for UNC Greensboro Dance Department He is a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association and a musician himself.

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