Dancer's Heel

What is Dancers Heel?

Dancer's heel is a condition also known as posterior impingement syndrome and is a compression of bone tissue in the back of the ankle commonly seen in dancers. This compression can worsen over time as irritated bone can grow and surrounding soft tissue can get caught between the bone spurs. When the posterolateral talar process becomes enlarged it is known as a “Stieda process.” Sometimes this piece of bone can even fracture which as known as a “Shepherd’s fracture.”

Diagnosis

Clinical symptoms of posterior ankle pain with activity and the X-ray finding of an enlarged posterolateral talar process or a Shepherd’s fracture

strongly suggests dancer’s heel. Sometimes an MRI or a diagnostic injection may be recommended.

Nonsurgical Treatment

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Oral medications-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help relieve the pain and inflammation.
  • Period of immobilization in a cast or cast boot.

Surgical Treatment

In patients who have no improvement after conservative treatment, removing the bone spur or fractured piece of bone and scar tissue surgically can be considered. This can be performed open or as an arthroscopic procedure. Usually a period of non-weightbearing for 2 weeks after surgery is required until the skin incision heals. Physical therapy is important during the rehabilitation phase post operatively to ensure that scar tissue does not form behind the ankle joint.

 


We are your Seattle area Ankle Specialists; we treat the full spectrum of ankle conditions simple to complex.  Whether you are in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Bothell, Arlington, Mount Vernon, or Whidbey Island call us today to make an appointment and we can educate you on ankle and foot problems and better yet find solutions!

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