Ask a Podiatrist – Heel Pain While Dancing

Mar 26th, 2008 by keelyh | 2 Comments So Far

Reader Question:

Dear HealthyFeetStore.com Blog,
I have been a competitive Irish dancer for 10 years and last August I started to have intense pain in the arch/bottom of my foot ONLY when dancing. Irish dancing requires a lot of pounding with your feet in shoes that do no offer much in the way of support. The shoes that give me the most problems are called “hardshoes.” They are basically a plain lace up shoe with a fiber glass tip of about ¾” thick and a 1.5” wooden heel with a strip of flexible leather in between under the arch. The pain starts about 5-10 minutes into practicing and becomes so intense I have to yank my shoes off and sit down. It feels like a very bad cramp. As soon as I stop dancing though it will go away in 5 minutes only to come back when I start dancing again. It does not bother me at all on a daily basis, only during practice. For this reason, my doctor does not think it is Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve had x-rays which didn’t show anything and I have been to a sports medicine physician. He could not offer much more than orthotics. I don’t know if orthotics in my dance shoes will work because of the flexibility that is necessary to dance. The arch of the shoe has to be able to bend in both directions. I rested for 6 weeks, went to physical therapy, did the stretches, massaged the arch…. all of which did nothing when I went back to dance. No one has been able to give me a clear answer on what this is or what to do. I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do now. Do you have any recommendations?

Thank you!

Podiatrist Jeff Hurless’ Answer:

Although we cannot provide a medical diagnosis to you without seeing you as a patient in our office, we can offer the following product suggestions.

Some dancers who experience foot pain find using Powerstep Arch Boosters in their dancing shoes to be helpful. You might also try a metatarsal gel pad. Usually there is not enough room inside a dancing shoe to support a complete orthotic. These are both inexpensive products that may be worth a try. We do recommend visiting footphysicians.com and finding a board certified foot and ankle doctor near you for an evaluation. Good Luck.

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2 Comments on “Ask a Podiatrist – Heel Pain While Dancing”


  1. Scott McILwain said:

    My situation is not doing to dancing. I fractured my right foot on 12/28/06. I did not have surgery. During the next 3 months, I would visit the Orthopedic Dr. and the heel was healing, After 3 months I went back for a follow up and the Dr. said all the fractures were healed and I could now put pressure on it. When I put pressure on it there was a feeling of pin and needles, pain and numbness in the front of my foot and toes. I went back to the Dr. and told her I have nerve damage in the front of my foot, I asked for a cats can with 3d rendering so we could see everything in my foot. She told me her Medical experience dose not warrant that procedure. However, she will x-ray the front of my foot because that was never done. They took 2 x-rays and never moved my foot or the machine. She came back with 2 x-rays. One was light in contrast, the other one was darker. She pointed to one of the and said I have Bone atrophy from not moving my toes for 3 months. I told her I would lay in bed, watch TV and wiggle my toes for something to do with my foot. Then I said because of the film she pointed at means I have Bone atrophy. So I pointed at the other film and that one says I don’t have atrophy and I have nerve damage. I left and went to my P C and got a script for a cats can. Then went and got a nerve conduction study that said I have Tibial Nerve damage. I took the info back to the Ortho and proved I have Nerve damage. She told me because I went to other Doctors without her knowledge; she feels the other Doctors can take care of me and kicked me out of the office she was working at. I walked on my heel and went to about 30 Doctors for the next 3 years. I was loosing my house because I couldn’t work and when coming down a step ladder with a box of books on my left shoulder I put my right foot down on the step and it was placed on the front of my foot. My reaction was to through the box to the left and the ladder feel to the right snd I landed on my left foot and fractured it. Tha Hospital sent me to a Podiatrist. After x-rays, he said I need an operation. I told him the story about my right foot and he said that sounds like a Mortans Neutoma and gave me a shot of cortizone with Ladicane and all the pain was gone, after 3 years. He operated on my left foot in Feb. 2009. He raped a piece of metal around my heel and only put 2 screws n the right side after he told me I could put weight on it there was pain on the lower left side of my heel , at the sub tayler joint, left side, and a Neuroma at the Left side of my toes. In Oct., 2009 he operated on my right foot to remove the Neuroma. He also did a sub tayler fusion because he said he wanted to line up my boned better. she put a long screw from the lower rear heal on a angle to the top of the front and 3 screws at the sub tayler joint and when he removed the neuroma he made the cut under my toes. When he told me I could put weight on it there was pain across my back of my toes and in the bottom center almost back to the center of my Arch. and there was what feels like golf ball sized knots along the outside along the bottom of my right foot. He said it was still swollen and could tack up to a year to calm down. I asked him why he cut the bottom to remove the Neuroma and he said it was easier. Now I have scar tissue on the bottom of my foot and across the back side of my toes that put pressure on the Tibial Nerve When a do any walking, with a cane, the front of my right foot across my toes and back to the center of the right foot, In the front of both heels x lump accurse, the left rear side of the left foot where there is no screws the Metal is away from the bone about 3/8 of an inch the subtitle joint, left foot and the neuroma, Left foot and both heels sting along with pressure, like a balloon, right foot. The Podiatrist said ha can remove the Metal, do a subtayler joint fusion and remove the neuroma on my left foot. I saw him a few days ago. He asked how my right foot felt. I told him it hurts worse after he operated on a year ago. He said he doesn’t feel he should operate on my left foot because he messed my Right foot worse. My insurance wont cover orthodic shoes made from a mold of ,y feet because I’m not a Diabetic. Any suggestions would be great.
    Sorry about the long letter and any spelling errors.
    Scott McIlwain


  2. Amanda Strouse said:

    Hi Scott- This sounds like a very serious, very complicated situation, and a response is way beyond HealthyFeetStore.com’s scope. Consult with your
    doctor(s) to find out what they would recommend as the next step. If you are having difficulties with sizing, we offer mis match shoes and stretchable fabric shoes
    that are gentle with sensitive feet. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance in fitting or if you want guidance figuring out what type of shoe we sell is best suited for you.

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