First Aid: Treating a Sprained Ankle On and Off The Dance Floor

Photo Credit: CFAC

Injuries happen all the time on and off the dance floor but pf all dance-related injuries, a sprained ankle is the most common. There are many reasons why this happens, it could be the wrong Latin dance shoes, the slippery floor, the wrong timing while dancing, a bad landing, etc.

How do Dancers Get Ankle Sprains?

Dance is a physically demanding activity, and there is an increased risk of an injury with every moment. Studies show that dancing for 5 hours a day or longer will increase your risk of stress fractures and sprained ankles. All of these are avoidable but hey, the life of a dancer can be full of peril sometimes! If you’ve been training hard, the muscles have very little time to recover.

The ankle is vulnerable to stress because this part of the body consists of ligaments prone to stretching and tearing. And this can lead to dance injuries too, along with a restrictive diet and a rigorous workout regimen. Torn ligaments are not only painful; they do not heal back to their pre-injury condition. And once you’ve sprained your ankle once, you are likely to sprain it again and again.

If the inevitable happens, what do you do? Say you landed badly and twisted your ankles, or your dance partner sprained her ankle; what do you do? Here are some tips:

What to Do after Spraining an Ankle

Stop dancing ASAP: Some dancers are so dedicated to their craft that they are willing to grin and “bear it” despite being injured just to finish the routine. If you’ve damaged your ankle, stop dancing right away and treat the injury ASAP. The longer you wait to treat a sprained ankle, the more painful it becomes and the injury will worsen too.

Tell your dance partner that you’ve injured your ankle if he hadn’t noticed already, and he should assist you. Most social dance events have emergency attendants nearby and first aid will be applied to the injury.

Apply an ice pack: Ice the injury as soon as possible to reduce pain and swelling. An ice pack or an ice slush bath should be applied to the injury as quickly as possible for 15 to 20 minutes. If you're suffering from diabetes, vascular disease, etc., let the doctor know before applying the cold compress.

Compress the injury: Depending on the severity of the sprain, the ankle would swell up and become tender to the touch. This is a sign that the ligaments were damaged. To stop the sprained ankle from swelling, it has to be wrapped in an elastic bandage. The compression should apply pressure to the injury to reduce pain and inflammation but not too much that it is cutting off the circulation.

Elevate the injury: Keep the injured leg elevated above the heart to reduce swelling. Excess fluids won't pool into the affected area when the ankle is elevated. Do this consistently, even when you’re sleeping. Prop a thick pillow under your leg.

How to avoid sprained ankles?

If you’ve recovered from an ankle injury, you have to take it easy because the likelihood of injuring the same part of the body is very high. A sprained ankle will take at least a month to heal, but this depends on how severe the injury is.

As you recover, build strength by performing balance exercises. Performing ankle strengthening exercises for at least six weeks during recovery will minimize your chance of injuring the same part of the body. Here are strength-building exercises for the ankles that we recommend.

Avoid over-training and overusing the injured ankle after recovering from a sprain. Always warm up before a routine or workout, then cool down after. When injuries happen, get treatment right away.

Take a break to recover from the injury and get advice from a doctor or physical therapist to speed up the healing process!

Wear the right social dance shoes. Ill-fitting shoes will make you unsteady on your feet, which could lead to another injury! Try Yami dance shoes; our social dance shoes boast padded insoles, sturdy heel cups, and durable straps for better balance and stability. Shop now and enjoy amazing deals on our bestsellers!

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