Dance Well, Live Well

Wellness blog for dance medicine, holistic health, and more

Repost from June 2021

From Pineapples to Pointe and Pirouettes

Remember how we always say the body is connected?

Here's a real life case of how food allergies helped us get rid of this dancer's ankle pain just in time for her perform with her teammates and bring home a national competition win!

Ashleigh dances for a private studio where she studies all forms of dance. She sought out our help for ankle pain that was not going away with rest or traditional injury management techniques (ex: ice, heat, anti-inflammatory meds.) Pain got so bad she started to avoid jumps and pointe work at her dance studio.

We started off with dance specific conditioning and ankle ligament stabilization to get rid of the pain and get her back to dance without restrictions. Exercise and conditioning wasn't working.

Here's what we did next...

All body systems are connected. No body system ever works alone and skeletal muscle performance is low on the totem pole of importance for body survival compared to things like breathing, digestion, brain and heart function. Often, when a more dominant system is dysfunctional, the body "forgets" symptoms in less important areas until the more dominant systems are stabilized. So we began asking questions to assess the integrity of the other body systems. Enter allergies.

Allergies are a symptom of inflammation and dysfunction of the system that corresponds to it. Seasonal allergies typically relate to immune system dysfunction. Food allergies and sensitivities are related to dysfunction of the digestive system. How does this relate to muscle function? An icky gut often disrupts core muscle performance. Core muscles don't support the body sufficiently for dance if they're lying over a digestive system that's sick with an infection or other type of inflammation. Decreased core stability is often the muscular culprit for ankle and foot injuries.

After finding out Ashleigh was allergic to pineapples, we also learned that she experienced upset stomach often, and her stomach reacted to other foods as well including hard boiled eggs. So we went straight to reducing stomach irritation based on these symptoms. In a few days she noticed her stomach feeling better and in about 2 weeks she was able to return to full participation in dance without pain or difficulty. The majority of exercises focused on core stability; very few focused on ankle strengthening or stretching.

Ashleigh was able to perform plies, point the foot, jump, and do pointework just in time for her end of the year recital and national competition where they brought home a "Top Scoring Studio" award! She performed everything without pain or compensation. Everyone was happy!

To sum it up: if you or someone you know struggles with repeated injuries or prolonged symptoms that don't go away or fade and return, there may be a more dominant body system holding it back. Check for clues such as food or medication allergies, headaches, rashes or skin issues, belly pain or digestive issues. These may be where care may need to focus to achieve their dance goal. Questions? Want help? Message us at : )

As always, know that we can help and we are here for you. 
Our mission is to help everyone who reaches out to us live their most amazing life. 
But we can't help, if you don't let us know you need us.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Not a dancer?  No problem.  We can help you too.

AZ Dance Medicine Specialists | 602.730.4159