Dancers with an Achilles Tendonitis have Altered Movements
Dancers can develop many problems, not the least of which is with the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonopathy (also known as tendonosis) means that the big tendon at the back of the heel has been slightly damaged or is getting over worked. While most thought that the only effect of this problem for the dancer was pain at back of the heel while dancing, a new study reveals a bigger impact: dancers Achilles tendonitis alters movement. The study, published this month in the Journal Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy shows that dancers with achilles tendonopathy don’t take off from the ground as well as their uninjured counterparts. The dancers with an injured Achilles tendon also had more adduction of the hip (the leg moving inward) and more twisting at the knee. What’s interesting is that you could certainly postulate that a dancer with an Achilles tendon problem that kept dancing would eventually start to wear out the hip and knee faster based on these altered movement patterns. This study also dovetails with another published just a few months ago, showing something as simple as a small leg length discrepancy lead to more arthritis in one knee. These concepts are also discussed in our medical practice’s book, Orthopedics 2.0. The upshot? Any area of pain generation left untreated will change the way you move, especially if you participate in sports at a high level. While you may be able to perform your sport, the changes in movement that you unconsciously use to be able to continue to compete may be wearing out other joints at an accelerated pace. The answer? Get your pain problems treated rather than ignoring them, as overloading parts of your musculoskeletal system to stay at your sport may cause bigger problems down the road.