Stress Fracture in Ballet DancerBallet dancers are subject to many injuries of the feet. The base of the second toe is the most common place for a fracture in a dancer. Dancers don't seek help for injuries unless they simply can't dance at all. And treatment for a foot fracture is rest for six weeks, a definite "no-no" for a serious dancer.
This case report of a stress fracture shows how early diagnosis and treatment is difficult, leading to prolonged problems. A 24-year old ballet dancer reported pain on the top of his foot along the base of the second toe. The pain lasted two months before an X-ray was taken. The X-ray was negative.
Diagnosis was made with further imaging studies. The dancer took six weeks off from dancing but didn't get relief from his symptoms. Six months later, he was still having pain. Surgery was done at 10 months to remove a piece of bone that wasn't healing. A new piece of bone was grafted into the site.
The dancer was back to dancing three months later with no symptoms. X-rays a year later showed complete healing of the area. The authors suggest keeping a close watch on such a stress fracture to make sure healing is long-lasting.
Luis Muscolo, MD, et al. Stress Fracture Nonunion at the Base of the Second Metatarsal in a Ballet Dancer: A Case Report. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. August/September 2004. Vol. 32. No. 6. Pp. 1535-1537.
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