Dance · Health & Fitness

Get Over It – Healing Dance Injuries

by Aly Cardinalli

Dancers have an extremely high tolerance for pain.  This is probably because of the neurological training to push through discomfort for the purpose of art.  Also, dancers feel frustration when they are unable to dance because of an injury.  Here are a few things every dancer needs to know regarding healing an injury and your basic dancer injuries.166

Achilles Tendinitis:  You feel pain along the back of your leg, near the heel.  It’s inflammation of the Achilles, the largest tendon in the body, which connects your calf to your heel.  Fix it by taking a break from jumps and any allegro (stay on the ground).  Train with lots of demi-plies utilizing all parts of your arch for support (sickle, pronate, parallel, turned out).  Prevent it by building strength with releves and eleves in slow controlled (and correct) form.

Plantar Fasciitis:  You feel pain (like an ‘Indian Burn’) along the bottom of your foot.  It’s inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that joins the heel and forefoot and gives arch support.  Fix it with ice.  Freeze a water bottle and roll the sole of the foot along it.  Stretch the foot by leaning on a wall and gently pressing the heel down (straight legged) out behind you.  Prevent it with proper footgear.  No heals and no slippahs (flip-flops).  If you need arch support, get it.  Hold your arches up when you dance. 

private-lesson Hamstring Strain:  You feel pain along the back of the leg below the buttocks or behind the higher part of your knee.  It’s an overstretch or a slight tear of one or more of the three muscles in the back of the leg.  Fix it with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory gels (I always recommend Traumeel).  Prevent it with strengthening your core and hips and to make sure that you don’t over-exert your hamstrings without giving them time to warm up.

Basic Care:

Ice! Most injuries start with inflammation, so icing right away can help.  Keep cooling sessions to no more than 20 minutes at a time to prevent frostbite.  Ice heals!!!

HealingHeat:  The saying goes “Ice is to heal,  Heat is for pain.”  If you’re still hurting after two or three days, try switching from ice to a heating pad, which will increase blood flow to the area and speed healing and relieving you of pain.

Stretch:  Once your pain is gone, gently stretch the muscles and joints through their full range of motion to reduce stiffness and aid in recovery.

Tape:  Kinesiology tape (KT) or Acu-tape may reduce swelling, take pressure off overused muscles and cut pain.  Research on its value is limited, but experience says give it a shot.  The point is to give your body extra support when you need it!

002 Cross-Train:  A dance injury doesn’t have to mean a total break from exercise.  Try doing some low-impact workouts like PILATES!!!  Spinning, swimming, and Pilates are been proven to be the best cross training a dancer can do.

REMEMBER: If the pain lasts for more the 10 to 14 days, or if it’s very sudden or severe (meaning you can’t walk without pain or it’s noticeably swollen), it’s time to visit a doctor.

Thank you for the information and the direct wordage used for this article!


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