Common Injuries Associated With Zumba And How To Avoid Them

Zumba has quickly become the new craze not only in NYC but throughout Hollywood as well; celebrities such as Kirstie Alley, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez have all expressed their love for the new workout routine. Zumba is an intense fitness program that gets you into shape while you dance away to sensational Latin and International inspired beats. It combines upbeat, irresistible music, created by Grammy-Award winning producers, with dynamic movements and cardio training to get visible results. But can this contagious, body-firming, calorie-burning phenomenon take a toll on your feet?? Not if you allow the podiatrists at Midtown Podiatry to help keep you prepared and take the right precautions!!

I’ve had several Zumba-fanatic patients present in the office with severe foot pain. Some of the common complaints have been toe cramps, numbness, burning sensation during class, pain on bottom of feet (plantar fasciitis), ankle sprains, blisters, and knee pain. Of all of these, the most common complaint in my experience has been a burning, numbness feeling in the toes. The reason this pain occurs is because of to too much pressure on the toes, since most of the movements in Zumba require staying on the balls of your feet. Several criteria can cause excess pressure, among these are:

  • Ill-fitted shoes
  • Internal tendon imbalances and joint mal-alignments
  • Too much or too little room in the toe box of your sneaker.

These can all be avoided if you just follow some simple rules and take some precautions:

The type of sneaker that you choose is crucial. Many beginners will think that any good quality sneaker is sufficient. However, due to the types of movements required in Zumba coupled with the aerobic type of activity, improper shoe gear can put you at risk for various foot and ankle injuries. You need a sneaker with a low tread, something that is light weight, has good shock absorption, and enough support for medial/lateral (side to side) movements. The low tread will allow you to do the dance-like moves without causing excessive torque to your ankles and knees.

A running shoe is a definite no. This has too much tread and is made particularly to control front to back motion (not side to side). Contrary to popular belief, a dance shoe is also not the best choice (although better than a running shoe). A “typical” dance shoe does have low treads and is light weight; however, its thin soles lack shock absorption and support. Therefore the best sneaker is an aerobic sneaker made for dance. This shoe will have a thinner sole, few treads, good shock absorption, and support for medial/ lateral movements.

Also important is to make sure you take at least 5 minutes extra to stretch before and after your workout. Stretching before exercises will warm up your muscles and will reduce the strain on them during your exercise routine. Stretching after exercise will allow your heated up and tight muscles to gently cool down to prevent soreness a few hours later. Doing both of these will drastically reduce your chance of foot injury.

Lastly, custom molded orthotics can address any structural or functional mal-alignment of the joints, tendons, and muscles of your feet and ankles. These custom foot inserts made specifically for your feet can easily replace the inserts that come with your sneaker. At Midtown Podiatry, with locations in Midtown, Wall Street, Union Square, Gramercy Park and Glen Cove we have the proper equipment to make custom orthotics in all of our offices.

So, there it is folks. Continue with your irresistible, contagious Zumba programs! Have fun and rewarding workouts, but don’t forget to make an appointment with the podiatrists at Midtown Podiatry to keep those feet Zumba ready!

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