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?
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.