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Get Back on Your Toes After a Dancer’s Fracture

Rotating or twisting an ankle or foot or incurring a crush injury by dropping a heavy object on the foot may cause a fracture of the fifth metatarsal, a bone at the base of the small toe. This injury, also known as dancer’s fracture, is similar to a sprained ankle in that it can make walking difficult, will cause some localized pain and swelling, and the skin can turn black and blue. However, the good news is that, with proper treatment and therapy, an individual with a dancer’s fracture can start bearing weight on the injured foot fairly quickly.

Treatment usually does not involve surgery, particularly if you can move the injured foot to the outside.

  • For the first few weeks, your mobility will be limited.
  • Once the swelling starts to subside, you will use a walking boot.
  • After six weeks, the bone may be healed to the point where you will be able to walk in a stiff-soled protective walking shoe with plenty of padding. You will probably use crutches too.

Recovery can be frustrating at times. In some instances, patients continue to feel symptoms more than eight weeks after their injury, but those occasions are rare. It often takes 12 or more weeks for a full recovery to occur. For most patients, dancer’s fracture can be treated with exercises, which strengthen and balance your muscles
and help you gain the motion and strength necessary to bear weight and walk.
You don’t have to be a dancer to suffer a dancer’s fracture. But if you do, we can develop a program that supports your safe and complete recovery, while pushing you enough to help you regain mobility. With our assistance, you can return to pain-free dancing, sports or daily activities as soon as possible.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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