As a dancer matures, so does the technical difficulty of their dance class. Dancing requires a balance in strength and flexibility. When strength and flexibility are compromised, injury happens.
Common Injuries From Dancing
It is very common for dancers to have right handed or left handed strength or disparities in flexibility. These issues may cause problems in the body’s natural bio-mechanics, causing a reduction in synchronicity and balance of movement. The repetitive motions required in dancing, cause trauma in the body, affecting performance.
Sheffield Physiotherapy can diagnose your injury, provide specialist physio treatment and give you exercises to do at home along with information on how to improve your dancing and prevent further injury.
Neck and Back Pain
Lifting and arching can overwork and over-strain the lower back. Dancers with an exaggerated lower back curve (lordosis) are more prone to muscle spasms. Choreography that calls for excessive head movements can easily strain dancers neck muscles.
Lateral Ankle Sprain
A ligament tear can happen when the outside of the ankle rolls inward after a loss of balance landing after a jump. Dancers require good stability of the ankle in all positions. If the torn lateral ligaments heal poorly they can remain badly scarred and stretched. This can lead to chronic instability and is likely to adversely affect performance.
Achilles tendonitis can cause the heel and lower calf to hurt, particularly when running and jumping. Most cases are due to over training.
Shoulder Tension Injuries
Extensive use of the arms such as overhead lifts can lead to tears in the upper arm tendons, or a condition known as ‘shoulder impingement’, which occurs when pain is felt in the shoulder due to the bones coming together as the arm is lifted, trapping the tendon.
Without correct treatments, shoulder injuries can become long standing problems.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Dance Injuries?
Dance injuries require prompt evaluation and treatment so that they do not become long-term career blighting issues. Early intervention and treatment can save money, time and long-term disability. After an evaluation a physiotherapist will help introduce strengthening and stretching exercises.
Physiotherapy treatment such as sports massage, electrotherapy, or acupuncture will help restore mobility to the area and decrease swelling and pain. Orthopedic prescription can sometimes be beneficial. In extreme cases a dancer with an unresolved condition may be a candidate for a surgical technique to decompress a tendon.
How Can I Prevent Dance Injuries?
- Proper training is essential to allow dancers to prevent injury.
- Take adequate rest in between dancing.
- Avoid dancing on hard or uneven flooring.
- Take proper care of your shoes.
- Adopt new training schedules gradually.
- Stretch before and after training.
- Wear supportive footwear off-stage and out of class.
- If you need to wear orthopaedics, wear them as often as possible.
- If you perform excessive pointe or demi pointe work one day, focus on other types of work during the next session.
- Use the full spine when arching the neck. Focus on lengthening the neck into a long graceful arch rather than collapsing it.
How Can I Help Myself?
- Take Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory medication (NSAID).
- Elevate the area.
- Put an ice pack on the area.
- Give the area a gentle massage
- Try and gently stretch the joint.
- Compress the area with a bandage.
- Stop activity as soon as you feel pain to optimise your recovery.
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