Injury & Dance – What young dancers need to know!

Due to the nature of the sport, dancers need to have characteristics of an elite athlete such as correct oxygen uptake, technique, muscular strength, flexibility and endurance.

Dancers are predisposed to an increased exposure to repetitive, extreme movements and increased force that is mainly applied to the lower extremities and the spine. Unfortunately, dancers also suffer a significantly higher incidence of early onset of arthritis in the foot, knee and hip joints. Musculoskeletal injury can sometimes be seen as an inevitable part of the profession.

Some studies have seen that 42.6% of young non-professional dancers have an injury! This is such a large percentage for a non-contact sport! Studies have agreed that there is a need to apply primary injury prevention in young dancers.

What are some ways to prevent my child from injury?

From a chiropractor’s perspective there are lots of ways that injuries can be prevented. Some things include:
Assessing movement patternsinjury-dancer
If your child does not activate certain muscles when performing certain movements; in a high repetitive, stress and loading activity such as dancing- tiny little things can have a HUGE impact on how the body functions and could, if not done correctly, create problems down the track.
Assessing balance
By looking at balance, we can get a really good indication of not only previous injuries but also likelihood of future injuries. For example, rolled ankles are something we see a lot with the dancing population. An injury like this can lead to decreased proprioception and can be a BIG risk factor for future injuries.
Assessing posture
Our bodies perform at their best with correct posture. By looking at your child’s posture, we will be able to see if there is balance within the body but also if there is a fault in their day-to-day functioning and movement!
Prevention is always better than damage control. By doing certain activities along the way not only can we improve function and performance but also decrease the risk of future injury. The list goes on!

If you have any queries or wish to know more about how Chiropractic care can prevent injuries in young dancers, book in for an appointment!

By Dr Amy Norman. 

Musculoskeletal injuries in young ballet dancers- Leanderson Sports Medicine Journal (2011) Knee Surg. Sports.
Injury patterns in young, non-professional dancers- Steinberg Journal of Sport Sciences (2012)Vol 30, Issue 5
Musculoskeletal Injuries and Pain in Dancers: A Systematic Review- Hincapie et. al. Arch Phy Med Rehabil (2008) Vol 89

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