Participating in any physical activity comes with many risks of injury, dance being no exception. Professional dancers may seem like angels as they soar through the air and appear to be defying gravity as they leap. They have rhythm, flexibility and coordination, but unfortunately even the very well trained will experience injuries due to the nature of the movement demands.
Up to 80% of dancers report injuries at some stage of their career. As much as a third of these are the result of specific trauma, and 65 percent are overuse injuries. Conditions that affect dancers include muscle weakness, muscular imbalances, muscle ramp, muscle strain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and stress fracture. Some of the most common being in the leg, foot, knee, hip and pelvis.
Some types of dance such as ballet are more injury-prone than others. Ballet has a very high incidence of injury because of the extreme stresses and demands of places on the body. Though any type of dance that involves repetitive impact on the body, gives dancers a higher risk of injury.
Some tips on how to prevent injury:
1) Stretch gently and always warm up with a few minutes of light exercise before a dance class.
2) Take time to properly warm up the major muscles of the body.
3) Cool down properly- It is extremely important to allow time for a proper cool down and more intensive stretching after class. This will prevent lactic acid build-up and any injuries that might occur if you simply walk out of the class and head on with the rest of your day.
4) Focus on proper technique-proper technique is a key ingredient in the prevention of dance-related injuries.
5) Crosstrain-Doing only one type of workout puts you at risk for injury, instead of only doing dance classes every week, get in a couple days of strength training, a Pilate??™s class and another type of cardiovascular workout. Not only will you reduce your risk of injury and you will get more fitter.
6) Wear proper footwear- you can prevent unwarranted injuries by investing in appropriate shoes.
7) Pay attention to pain-if you take care of a sore ankle when you feel the first n che sucks twinge of pain, you may need a wrap and a few days off your feet. Ignore it until you cant stand on your foot anymore, and you may require surgery and weeks of rehabilitation and time away from the dance studio.
Muscle cramp- a painful muscle contraction usually felt in back of leg and front of thigh.
Muscle strain- causes tenderness of the muscle and possibly swelling it is caused by lack of flexibility and sudden muscle contraction.
Shin Splints -Shin splints cause pain on the front portions of the lower legs. Shin splints are caused by jumping on hard surfaces, improper landing, and poor flexibility.
Plantar Fasciitis-this condition causes chronic pain and inflammation to the foot, especially to the heel. Pain may also be felt in the arch.
Stress Fracture- Stress fractures cause pain and swelling, and usually occur in the shins or balls of the feet. They are usually caused by repeated jumping and landing. Female ballet dancers seem to be at high risk for developing stress fractures in the lower legs and feet. Dance injury
Sport science has taught us how to prevent dance injury. Remember to know the limitations and boundaries of your body,
take the time to warm up properly Proper dance shoes
are essential in distributing load, absorbing impact,
and supporting your foot. Use correct posture and dance technique also aids in the prevention of injury.
Remember proper technique and safety go hand in hand.