Concerned Mom writes to ask:
My daughter is almost 14 and has been dancing since she is 2, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and modern. Unfortunately she fractured her sesamoid bone in the ball of her foot and had to have it removed 8 months ago.
She has been out of dance for a year and a half and has lost a lot of leg and foot strength. She recently went back to dance but only takes ballet, tap and jazz. She is still having some pain by the end of class, her dr cant explain why seeing that the fractured bone is gone. Im wondering if her foot muscles are not strong enough.
My question is, do you know of this injury and do you think she will ever be able to dance without pain? any suggestions to help built her foot strength? she is to the point where she justs wants to give up, it has been a long time dealing with injury and i think now it has affected her mentally.
@concerned mom, I'm so sorry to hear this happened to your daughter.
I'll be frank, I'm concerned that the doctor rushed into surgery so quickly. Sesamoid injuries are common in dancers because the sesamoid bones take a lot of pressure in dancing, but usually doctors try to avoid surgery - I've known some dancers persevere for up to eighteen months rather than go under the knife. Even though the sesamoid bones are tiny, they are weight-bearing and do serve a useful purpose in dance. Losing one may affect how she gets up on demi-pointe - which wouldn't be a problem for an ordinary person, but will pose a challenge for a dancer.
Because your daughter has lost an important weight-bearing bone, she'll need to learn how to compensate for that - and she probably won't be able to work that out for herself. It's also important to identify how she got the injury in the first place - it's often caused by incorrect technique such as sickling or forced turnout. Fix the underlying faulty technique and she may find things easier, and avoid further problems.
So I think it's vital for you to consult a physiotherapist - and not just an ordinary one, but one who's qualified in treating ballet dancers.