A few weeks ago, I had a mishap. I wish I could say I was doing something grand and exciting, but I simply took a step off our deck "up north" and I partially tore my meniscus. It has been an awful experience. Needless to say, it has got me thinking about dancer injuries and prevention. As we head back to dance, after time off due to Covid19, I want to give dancers some basic information on dance injuries and steps for injury prevention
Here is a list of common injuries in dancers:
blisters/toe nail injuries
impact injuries (bruises)
dehydration & malnutrition
There are 5 main areas for preventing injuries.
equipment & surfaces
rules & regulation
Always take the time to properly warm up your body and muscles before you dance. This is very important to injury prevention. Dance on a floor made for dancing. Do not dance directly on concrete and try do find a floor made for dancing, like a "Marley" floor. If you are using any equipment, make sure it is in good working order. Follow the rules and regulations of the facility or organization. They are in place to keep you safe. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy food, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Lastly, train for dance. Here is some of the training that dancers will do: muscular strength, power, endurance, plyometrics, agility, balance, joint stability and dance specific technique. It is very important that the person training you in dance technique is experienced in dance technique. Many injuries in dance come from poor technique. When you are in technique classes, pay close attention to the details and apply them to your dance steps.
Quality dance wear is important. It will provide protection for the dancer. Dance wear supports the bones, joints and muscles. Shoes will provide reduction in impact energy. Quality dance wear can also improve a dancer's performance.
Here are some tips for preventing dance injuries as you head back to dance:
wear proper shoes
drink plenty of water
get plenty of rest
resist the temptation to dance through pain (don't ignore pain) - don't ignore muscle cramping (the muscles may be fatiguing and not supporting bones good enough)
pay close attention to the correct technique
pay close attention to your body's limits
maintain good nutrition
commit to mastering basic movements
limit passive stretching and foam rolling - this may prevent you from reaching your full potential - strengthening helps restore power
work on calf endurance
work on strengthening even the smallest feet muscles
increase calcium and protein intake
As you head back to the dance floor this fall, may your heart be filled with the joy of dance. I wish you an injury free year of health and happiness this dance season.
Kim Mader, Footworks Director