A dancer’s minefield of injuries

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Imagine the wear and tear that a professional basketball player’s leaps do to the body. Now imagine the wear and tear it might cause if that player were barefoot, or if he had to shoot foul shots with his entire weight balanced on his toes.

Dancers suffer a number of injuries, and because of the leaping in ballet, about 70 percent of them are in the legs and feet, estimates Heather Southwick, director of physical therapy at the Boston Ballet.

The force of landing is equal to about 12 times a dancer’s body weight, according to Pointe Magazine, an international magazine for ballet dancers. Dancers land on a flat ballet shoe, a toe shoe, or barefoot. “None of the footwear has any support in it,” says Southwick.

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