Advice for Dancers

Can I Dance With a Fracture?

I was just given a bone stimulator to help my stress fracture heal. The problem is, I can't dance while I'm using it. Will it really help, and why can't I do both?

—Cracked Tibia, Philadelphia, PA

Immobilization is necessary for a stress fracture to heal. This usually involves wearing a removable boot and, sometimes, using crutches. Bone stimulators work by passing an electric current or ultrasound across a fracture to speed up healing. Orthopedic research has found that bone stimulators can accelerate this process in fresh tibial fractures by 24 to 42 percent, as opposed to simple immobilization. Still, this type of treatment is not a quick fix, and if you dance while you're injured, you'll only extend the process. A month of dancing with a fracture will need a month or more of immobilization and using a bone stimulator to heal. Be aware that smoking, taking medications with corticosteroids, or having a vitamin D deficiency or other nutritional problem may also delay healing.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at

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