Can Orthotic Insoles Relieve Pain in Dancers?

orthotic insoles

orthotic insoles


One group of people who may have feet screaming out for relief from orthotic insoles is dancers. Dancers also look so graceful and as if they don’t have an ache or pain in their body, but the fact is that they often have pain and/or swelling in their feet. Depending on the type of dance that they perform, their feet may be prone to develop bunions, corns, calluses, Achilles tendonitis, and even plantar fasciits. There are other foot disorders that dancers may develop as well.\


It’s a known fact in scientific circles that orthotic insoles, also called orthotic devices, can relieve pain in people. And scientists knew that if they wanted to test out orthotics to see whether they relieve pain, the best group of people was possibly dancers.


They found 24 dancers in the Netherlands and examined their feet. The dancers had a foot problem called hyperpronation or overpronation. Pronation occurs naturally in the foot as we walk, but if you pronate too much, it begins to cause pain and stiffness in the feet and can lead to plantar fasciitis or other problems.


The dancers were given orthotic insoles to wear during their dancing activities (dancers orthotics) and had to keep records of how often they wore the dancers orthotics. (Dancers orthotics were ones that prevented hyperpronation or overpronation.) They also had to keep records of their pain on a pain scale of 1-10 and their dance ability based on how their feet were feeling.


About two-thirds of the dancers were satisfied with the results of the dancers orthotics. When the researchers examined the average degree of pain relief and symptomatic relief, it was 58%. And the rating the dancers gave themselves on their ability to dance was 46%.

dancer orthotics

dancer orthotics


Their pain decreased significantly as soon as they began wearing the dancers orthotics. And the best news of all was that when the dancers stood barefoot, there was a change in how they stood when they wore the orthotic insoles.  Before wearing the orthotic insoles, their feet were leaning inward when they stood silently. Afterward, the orthotic insoles held their foot closer to the correct position it was supposed to be.


Wearing the orthotic insoles was not difficult for them at all. They quickly realized that the dancers orthotics were beneficial and decreased their foot pain. The dancers wore them six days a week and about 7-1/2 hours a day.


If you’re a dancer, remember this story about the research. But more importantly, don’t go another day without wearing orthotics that fit your feet. You can wear dancer’s orthotics in your dancing shoes. Even ballet slippers can accommodate orthotic insoles.



Source: Nowachi, R.M., Air, M.E., and Rietveld, A.B. Use and effectiveness of orthotics in hyperpronated dancers. J Dance Med Sci 2013;17(1):3-10.


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