Posterior Impingement in Dancers

  • Pain on rise and en pointe?
  • Discomfort in plie?
  • Tender and puffy behind the ankle?
  • Pain that’s slowly increasing?
  • Morning stiffness in the back of the ankle?

If your answer to all these is yes, then you might have posterior impingement

While common in the dance population, there are a lot of myths surrounding posterior impingement that need clarifying. First up, you may or may not have an extra bone called Os Trigonum behind your ankle. While this can contribute to posterior impingement – it’s presence is not required for symptoms and it is not always the culprit even if it is there.

Let’s break down key things to know about posterior impingement:

  1. Rest won’t fix it
  2. Needs strengthening and retraining
  3. Massage and stretching facilitate – but won’t “fix”
  4. Keep the foot warm (don’t ice!)
  5. Bucket of warm water + pointe/flex/circles for 10mins daily
  6. Water barre (get into the pool or the ocean)
  7. Anti-inflammatory tablets can only help short term – to allow to do exercises

The main thing needed is to get intrinsic muscles of the feet and the medial calf working. Please remember every body is different and your Dance Physiotherapist will be the best person to guide your specific rehab.

You don’t need to be dancing in pain!

Come and see us at Performance Medicine and begin your recovery today.