Dancing is a physically demanding activity. Injuries can happen; however, there are many ways to avoid injury or to help manage an existing one.
*Note – If you are injured, please be sure to consult your physician or professional trainer.*
What are Some Common Dance Injuries?
Overuse injuries to joints and muscles are the most common in dancers. The majority of these injuries include ankle, leg, foot, or lower back. Some common dance injuries are:
- Hip injuries: hip impingement, snapping hip syndrome, hip bursitis, labral tears, hip flexor tendonitis, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Foot and ankle injuries: Achilles tendonitis, trigger toe, and ankle impingement
- Knee injuries: patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Stress fractures: metatarsals, sesamoids, tibia, and lumbar spine
- Dancers are also more likely to develop arthritis in the knee, hip, ankle, and foot
Generally, dancers have a considerably lower rate of ACL injuries compared to other athletes. One reason could be that dance training involves much more intense jumping from an earlier age than other sports, improving muscle control.
First of all, stay well-rested and drink plenty of water. It is essential to remain hydrated and get a good night’s sleep, so your body is energized for the next day.
Make sure you give yourself a proper warm-up before class. Injuries are a lot more common when you go right into fast movement or high extensions without warming up. If your body isn’t warmed up, you could really hurt yourself.
Also, give yourself a decent cooldown and stretch after class. Sitting down or resting right away will cause your muscles to tighten up and become stiff. Stretching is a great way to avoid that. Another option is to slowly ruse a tennis ball or foam roller to roll out your muscles.
Cross-training is a great technique to avoid injuries. Strengthening and activating your muscles helps train your body for dance. However, it is best to stay away from impact sports. A few cross-training techniques that are good for dancers include pilates, yoga, and swimming. The stronger you are, the more likely you will prevent an injury!
Managing an Injury
ICE ICE ICE. It is essential to ice your injury. It will help reduce swelling and inflammation. However, timing is everything. It is crucial to ice and elevate right after the injury occurs. When you are ready to start training, do not ice before exercise! You will want your muscles to be warm. Ice after exercise and for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Alternating between heat and ice a few days after the injury may also be helpful. Again, please consult a doctor for specific instructions.
Finally, consider going to physical therapy to learn the proper ways to retrain and strengthen your body. You want to ensure that you maintain proper technique to avoid allowing the injury to continue or happen again.