Dance Injuries: Reducing Risk

Dance injuries are quite common, with approximately 68% arising from overuse injuries.  Studies show the incidence of injury ranges from 0.62-5.6 per 1000 dancing hours.  Injury can accumulate quickly with the amount of time a dancer participates in class or rehearsal. Overuse injuries can occur due to a myriad of reasons including overtraining (hours upon hours of dance class, rehearsal, or performances, with minimal to no recovery), improper dance technique, forcing turnout, progressing to pointe too early, and poor nutrition.

Reducing Dance Injury Risk

Decreasing the number of classes or rehearsals a dancer participates in each week may not be feasible. However, we can make sure he/she has good technique. Why does technique or proper form matter?  Let’s look at the plie for example. It is one of the most basic movements in ballet.  The plie is performed much more frequently than simply the first combination at the barre. It is also used during a fondue, to prepare for and land from turns such as a pirouette, piquet, and fouette.  The plie is also used to initiate jumps including sauté, changement and grande jete. If a dancer has improper technique with her plie, this considerable repetition can place her at increased risk of injury.

Dance turnout

Conclusion

To reduce the chance of injury, we need to focus on correcting individual muscular strength and flexibility imbalances.  A physical therapist who specializes in dance rehabilitation is best to evaluate the young dancer.  The goal is to keep the dancer on her toes.  It is also important to educate the dancer on proper form and not forcing her turnout.  Contact your physical therapist today if you are having pain with any movement or position, or would like a free screen to determine if your technique is safe for your body.


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