Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Metatarsal Pain and Plantar Hyperkeratosis in the Forefeet of Female Professional Flamenco Dancers

José M. Castillo-López, Alfonso Vargas-Macías, Gabriel Domínguez-Maldonado, Guillermo Lafuente-Sotillos, Javier Ramos-Ortega, Inmaculada C. Palomo-Toucedo, María Reina-Bueno, Pedro V. Munuera-Martínez
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 4: Page 193 (December 2014)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency of metatarsal pain and of hyperkeratosis on the plantar forefoot in female professional flamenco dancers, and to determine whether there is a relationship between the two disorders. METHOD: 44 female professional flamenco dancers, with a minimum activity of 25 hrs/wk, participated in this cross-sectional study. The presence or absence of metatarsal pain while dancing was recorded, and plantar pressures were measured on a pressure platform, both barefoot and shod with the usual dance shoe. The heel height of the dance shoe was also measured. RESULTS: Of the dancers, 80.7% experienced metatarsal pain while dancing, and 84.1% presented with plantar hyperkeratosis. Plantar hyperkeratosis coincided with the presence of metatarsal pain in 67.04% of the feet studied. The maximum load point in the feet when the dancers were barefoot was located 59.5% in the rearfoot and 40.5% in the forefoot; when dancers wore their specific flamenco dancing shoes, it was located 52.4% in the rearfoot and 47.6% in the forefoot. CONCLUSIONS: Metatarsal pain and plantar hyperkeratosis in the forefoot are common foot disorders in female flamenco dancing. The incidence of the maximum load point being located in the forefoot, and the difference between the results of the tests while shod or barefoot, are both too low to support the idea that the raised heels of flamenco shoes are a major contributing factor for these injuries. Therefore, these disorders may be caused by chronic repetitive trauma suffered during the practice of footwork dancing.

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