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Foot Surgery in Dancers - Removal of the Plantar Fascia?!

THE QUESTION:

“Hello there, I was recently diagnosed with having Plantar Fibromas on my foot (not something you want to hear as a ballet dancer). After unsuccessful steroid injections my surgeon has proposed surgery. The problem is that he’s unsure of whether he’ll be able to remove the fibromas without removing the entire plantar fascia. Will the complete removal of the plantar fascia stop me from doing pointe work or ballet in general? Many thanks."

THE ANSWER:

Hi There! Yes, I would be very, very cautious about removing the entire plantar fascia, and it’s not something I’ve actually ever seen performed on a dancer, so I would definitely recommend getting a second opinion before moving forward with the surgery.

 

1. The thing that you really need to look at before going under any surgery, and especially such radical surgery, is why the fibromas are happening in the first place.


Usually, they will happen if there’s excessive load through the plantar fascia so you want to off-load the plantar fascia mechanically before you actually think of doing anything so aggressive. Normally the steroid injections will work, but if they haven’t it’s probably because that load is still being placed along the plantar fascia while you’re having the steroid injections in there. I would encourage you to look at our plantar fascia article. It explains a lot about how to correctly support the foot to take the load off the plantar fascia while you strengthen up the muscles to support the arch.

 

 

2. There are numerous ways of strengthening the muscles to support the arch.

This includes using taping techniques, using orthotics, by controlling the turnout control and things from the hips. There is a huge amount of information that we have put up on the blog to help with this so I would definitely look at exhausting all of those options before actually looking at undergoing that surgery.

 

3. I think yes, it would make it very difficult to dance proficiently if you have your entire plantar fascia removed.

The Plant Fascia's other name is the "Spring Ligament." It’s designed to let the foot deform and then recoil a little to help get some spring in your foot so removing this will make jumping and landing from jumps become very difficult.

So I highly advise you to get a second opinion before you undergo that surgery. And again look at all of those strengthening exercises that you can do to really help retrain the foot before you would actually go down that path. I hope this has helped. Good luck, and talk to you soon!

Injury & Foot Resources

If you are looking to delve deeper into this topic, check out the following programs:

  • Will I Ever Dance Again: The “Will I Ever Dance Again?” program is perfect if you are unable to train at full capacity, whether this is due to a foot injury, surgery, an accident or illness outside of the studio. It helps you build back to full capacity gradually, while maintaining strength, flexibility and control in the rest of the body.
  • Level One Dance Teacher and Therapist Training: This unique course covers a multitude of assessment and treatment techniques to individualise a dancer's training. With special focusses on Postural Control, Core Stability, Flexibility, Basic Classical Technique, The Dancers Hip, Allegro, Spinal Mobility and Arabesques, it is suitable for anyone working closely with dancers.

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