November 16, 2016

Dance Injuries Prevention and Treatment

By: Tanya Kestenberg

Physiotherapist

A Dancer’s life

Ballet

It’s hard to be a dancer. Dance takes hours of devoted dedication and focus, working on, sometimes simply grinding through routine exercises in order to achieve automatic and effortless perfection that’s so coveted in professional dancers.   Many dancers, whether professional or recreational, are familiar with physiotherapy treatment because of an injury they had to overcome. Low back pain, hip, knee, ankle and foot problems are amongst the most common ones. All dancers either witnessed or been there themselves: coming to class with a taped or wrapped ankle or wearing a knee brace. How often have we seen someone sitting out or having to modify an exercise because they are not fully recovered yet.   According to the article in the Dance Journal Medicine and Science the following are the incidences of most common dance related injuries:

foot injuries

1) Foot and ankle injuries 40% 2) Lower back injuries 17% 3) Knee injuries 16%   Each of these categories can include many stand alone injuries that may differ from dancer to dancer.      

Dancer’s life outside of dance

Dancer on tree

We recognize that dancing is a large part of any dancers life and a part of their identity. Dancing requires many hours of dedicated training at the studio. However, focusing on narrow training approach, can lead to weakness in other body areas. Physiotherapists at Family Physiotherapy are trained in human movement, and we can help the dancer to achieve well-rounded fitness and remain overall pain-free, in all of their physical life pursuits outside of dance.    

What do most dancers think of physiotherapy?

Dancers, like most people, think that physiotherapy is something dancers have to do when they get injured in order to get better.  An appropriate physiotherapy assessment soon after you’ve had an injury is definitely ideal in order to ensure as little time as possible is lost from dance by addressing your injury and safely maintaining your condition level while you heal.  

What else can physiotherapy offer dancers?

In actuality, physiotherapy can offer so much more than the obvious. Physiotherapy can help dancer maximize their abilities. It can also help prevent injury.   At Family Physiotherapy our staff physiotherapists have all received training and have work experience with dance related injuries. We can offer dancers:

  • Dance specific assessment skills, where we would examine the dancer’s movement and would be able to state objectively if there is a breakdown in the optimal movement pattern
  • Our physiotherapists understand dance specific requirements: flexibility, turnout, balance, biomechanics of turns,  short bursts of maximal aerobic activity
  • Our rehab team knows that pain-free movement and good technique leads to longevity of dancer’s career and enjoyment of dance injury free
  • We can help spot hidden issues that need to be addressed so that they won’t lead to future injuries

ReferencesDance Journal Medicine and Science Mar 2012  

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