Ballet move by young girls may cause arthritis

November 30, 1999

Young ballet dancers and their parents should be aware that, along with the accolades of a professional career, often come painful and arthritic ankles, especially for dancers who go "on pointe".

A study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view the ankles of 11 female dancers with the National Ballet of Canada determined that each of them had findings of arthritis in the joints of the ankles. Research on the topic will be presented at the 85th scientific assembly and annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Dancers all end up with very painful ankles," said David C. Salonen, assistant professor of medical imaging at the University of Toronto and division head of musculoskeletal imaging at Toronto Western Hospital. "This is nothing new to ballet dancers, who are used to performing with pain much of the time. But perhaps the problems might be prevented, or at least alleviated, if girls waited until they were older to go on pointe, and if professional ballerinas rested more between performances."

"The ankle is one of the most injured joints," he said, noting that the same constellation of problems seen in dancers' ankles are also detected in the ankles of sprinters and mid- and long-distance runners.

Two years ago at the beginning of the fall ballet season, researchers performed MRI on both ankles of 11 female ballet dancers. All were asymptomatic, meaning none of them complained of pain or problems. All of the ankles were stable and had full range of motion. But upon analyzing the MRI examinations in the 22 ankles, osteoarthritis -- caused by stress on a joint -- was detected in 10 tibiotalar, 19 talonavicular and 7 subtalar joints.

"Ankle problems are one of the leading contributory factors in ending a dancer's career," said Dr. Salonen. "A third to half of the season, these dancers live in chronic ankle pain."

As early as age 11 or 12, some girls go on pointe, meaning they dance on the tips of their toes with special shoes. Perhaps girls shouldn't go on pointe so early, Dr. Salonen said.

It also might help if professional ballet dancers rested longer between performances, "analogous to pitcher rotation in baseball," said Dr. Salonen. "It might lengthen their careers or slow the progression of disease."

"The ankle is probably one of the most intricate and best engineered joints of the body," said Dr. Salonen. "It can support the body and transmit the forces necessary for walking and running -- it's pretty impressive."

Co-authors of the paper are Rose Lee, MD; Edna J. Becker, MD; Anthony T. Mascia MD; and Darryl Ogilvie-Harris, MB.
-end-
The RSNA is an association of 31,000 radiologists and physicists in medicine dedicated to education and research in the science of radiology. The society's headquarters are located at 820 Jorie Blvd, Oak Brook, Illinois 60523-2251.

**Copies of 1999 RSNA news releases are available online at http://www.pcipr.com/rsna beginning Monday Nov. 29.

CONTACT:
(Nov. 29 to Dec. 3)
Bob Szafranski or Pam Rwankole
312-791-6667


After Dec. 3, contact:
Steven de Sousa
U of T Public Affairs
416-978-5949
steven.desousa@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto

Related Arthritis Articles from Brightsurf:

Physical activity and sleep in adults with arthritis
A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research has examined patterns of 24-hour physical activity and sleep among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and knee osteoarthritis.

Is rheumatoid arthritis two different diseases?
While disease activity improves over time for most rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, long-term outcomes only improve in RA patients with autoantibodies, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Xanthe Matthijssen of Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands, and colleagues.

Does the Mediterranean diet protect against rheumatoid arthritis?
Previous research has demonstrated a variety of health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, cereals, fruit and vegetables, fish, and a moderate amount of dairy, meat, and wine.

Reducing corticosteroid use in rheumatoid arthritis
Is the long-term use of glucocorticoids essential in people with chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, or can early discontinuation prevent characteristic side effects?

Psoriasis onset determines if psoriatic arthritis patients develop arthritis or psoriasis first
In a new study presented at the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting, researchers found the age of psoriasis onset determines whether arthritis or psoriasis starts first in people with psoriatic arthritis.

The ACR and the Arthritis Foundation present new guidelines offering therapeutic approaches and treatment options for juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Today, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation (AF), released two guidelines on juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Does alcohol consumption have an effect on arthritis?
Several previous studies have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a new Arthritis Care & Research study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.

Prospect of a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
An international research group led by Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin has completed testing a new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Can rare lymphocytes combat rheumatoid arthritis?
Immunologists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg have demonstrated that ILC2, a group of rare lymphoid cells, play a key role in the development of inflammatory arthritis.

Which pain medication is safest for arthritis patients?
In a recent Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics study, arthritis patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain plus a stomach acid-reducing medicine called esomeprazole had infrequent gastrointestinal side effects.

Read More: Arthritis News and Arthritis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.