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Why You Should Think Twice Before Trying the Slick Back Challenge

Have you heard of the slick back challenge that’s currently trending? Slick back is a dance that seems to slide forward and became a hot topic overseas before it gained popularity in our country, where a video of a middle school student garnered 200 million views in just five days. However, caution is necessary as many people are getting injured while trying to imitate the dance.

An illusion of levitation

The slick back dance involves quickly crossing your feet to the beat of the highlight part of Rakim’s 2019 song “A Pimp Named SlickBack.” The challenge started when a foreign dancer shared the dance on social media, and it quickly became a global trend. In Korea, it’s also known as the “superconductor dance,” and the number of people trying it is increasing.

What is the original meaning of slick back?

The term “slick back” originally referred to a hairstyle where the hair is neatly combed back, so much so that there’s a term “Brad Pitt slick back” due to the actor frequently sporting this style. However, the word “slick,” which means to slide, has recently been applied to dance, becoming synonymous with a dance that involves quickly crossing your feet as if sliding.

How to do the slick back dance


The original dancer of the slick back dance has uploaded a video explaining the dance. According to the dancer, you raise your left knee, lower your leg, and slide your lowered leg back while simultaneously raising your right knee. Then, lower your right leg, slide it back, and raise your left knee again. Repeating these steps while moving sideways creates a slick back dance.

Impact of slick back on the ankle

The slick back movement involves crossing your feet in a circular motion, so if you misjudge the direction, you could twist your ankle. Therefore, the risk of ankle sprain injuries is very high. If not treated in time, it can lead to chronic sprains, where the ankle is frequently sprained even without a specific trauma, and can even progress to ankle instability. Caution is needed if you stop treatment when the pain disappears or if you engage in excessive activity.

Can lead to various injuries

If you forcefully imitate the slick back dance, there is a high risk of falling heavily, suffering bruises, or injuring your knees. Many people are advised to use casts or crutches due to sprains, ligament damage, or arthritis. While it’s commonly thought that casts are for fractures, they may also be needed for severe bruises where the pain persists.

If the Achilles tendon area turns red?

If the Achilles tendon area turns red or becomes hot and swollen, and there is pain in the back of the calf after the slick back movement, you should suspect Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is a tendon that moves the foot toward the ground, and it works strongly when lifting the heel. If this Achilles tendon is used excessively or receives repeated stimulation, inflammation can occur, causing pain.

Avoid shoes without cushioning

Suppose you wear shoes without cushioning and repeat the slick back movement. In that case, the shock will be transmitted directly to the Achilles tendon, making it easy for acute Achilles tendonitis to occur. After an injury, it’s good to stabilize with ice and then apply heat to improve blood circulation once the symptoms have eased a bit.

Bend your knees and jump low

The Slick Back Challenge requires caution not only for the ankles or Achilles tendon but also for knee injuries. Since participants jump with each step, there is continuous pressure on the knees. Knee injuries often involve damage to ligaments due to external trauma, and inflammation can occur in the patellar tendon, which connects the muscles above the knee to the shinbone.

Enjoy within a safe range

Instead of pushing yourself to mimic the movements for the sake of sharing challenge videos, you should gradually increase the intensity of the movements. Refrain from excessive jumps and changes in direction and make appropriate use of knee protectors or taping. After the challenge, it is recommended to rest while applying ice.

If you get injured

If you get injured while doing the slick back dance, take a rest and avoid walking on the injured part. Applying ice and compressing the injured area with a bandage or medical tape can help. If you can’t get to the hospital right away, you should rest for about 48 hours with your foot elevated higher than your heart. If the pain is severe, you can take painkillers.

By. Shin Young Jeon

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