What is a Dancer's Fracture?

Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses dancer's fractures, a common dance injury.

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Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses dancer's fractures, a common dance injury.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Larissa Roux, MD, MPH, PhD, CCFP, Dip Sport Med

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

A dancer's fracture or a fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot, is the most common acute fracture seen in dancers, hence the name.

Essentially it is a fracture in the outermost bone of the foot, and it occurs most commonly from landing badly from a jump and rolling the foot inwards, resulting in an impact along this bone.

A dancer will experience immediate pain, usually with associated swelling, may even hear the break as it occurs, and be unable to weight bear generally right after the incident.

The type and severity of fracture will determine whether or not the bone will heal on its own with immobilization or whether or not it needs to go to surgery. So an X-ray is needed to confirm the diagnosis, and to determine where and how the bone was broken.

In the acute phase, rest, ice and limiting weight bearing will be the mainstays of therapy. Following, a period of immobilization, which may be anywhere from six to eight weeks. It is important that a course of physiotherapy be started to restore balance, strength and mobility, both of the foot and the ankle.

If you feel you've suffered a dancer's fracture or have further questions regarding this condition, please feel free to seek the advice of your local family physician or sports medicine physician.

Presenter: Dr. Larissa Roux, Sports Medicine Physician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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