3 Common Dance Injuries and How to Prevent Them
“Slight small injuries and they will become none at all.” – Thomas Fuller
Ballet dancers put in hours and hours of training to make their movements look effortless and graceful. But in reality, it requires practice, strength, and flexibility to master these movements and even the best dancers have had experience with injuries.
In this post, we will cover some of the most common ballet dance-related injuries and how you can prevent them.
- Foot and Ankle Injuries
Injuries of the foot and ankle are most common that we see ballet dancers. Foot and ankle injuries typically happen when the tendons of the ankle become inflamed from overuse. Particularly spending an extended time on pointe or performing a large number of relieves (or any repetitive movement) in a short period of time.
- Lower Body Injuries
Injuries of the lower body are common in ballet dancers. Similar to above, hip impingement injuries can occur when a dancer performs repeated movements with the same body part, leading to inflammation of tendons, etc.
- Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are most commonly seen in the foot. These fractures are caused by, you guessed it – overuse! Repetitive force mostly from the landing part of a jump or movements on releve can cause tiny cracks in the bones.
Ensure you are moving safely and only perform once you have the confidence to execute them properly. It is important to ensure that as a ballet dancer, you have proper footwear and always use proper technique when dancing. It is also possible that too much training and too intense training can lead to injuries, however, at the Alberta Ballet School, we ensure that our students have adequate breaks to promote recovery and keep an appropriate work: rest ratio.
In addition, it is important to consider how you begin and end your ballet dance classes. It is important to include a proper warm-up and cool-down routine to prevent injuries from happening. This includes a dynamic warm-up designed to get the heart rate up and perform basic patterns of movement to prime our mind-muscle connection. a cool down focused on stretching to increase flexibility.
If it is the case that you have a dance-related injury, the best thing you can do is rest and wait until your body recovers and do not try to do too much too soon. If you cannot completely take this time off from dancing, modify the activity or simplify your movements so you can stay in shape while in recovery and most importantly, not make the injury worse. Proper sleep and nutrition will also ensure a proper and speedy recovery.
Remember that you need to be fully recovered before you start training at full capacity again as returning to dancing before a full recovery can increase your risk of subsequent or recurrent injury. Listen to your body and practice mindfulness. Things like visualization in class can be helpful and keep you on top of your technique.
When it comes to treatment options, it really will depend on your specific injury. It is best to discuss your options with a doctor or professional that specializes in dance-related injuries. At the Alberta Ballet School, our dancers have access to on-site physiotherapy, and we encourage our students to make use of this service. Not only can they help plan a proper road to recovery but having a professionals care and support at every step of the way will ensure you return to dancing quickly and safely.”
Dancing and performing at high levels involve rigorous training, and many injuries can be prevented with the steps we outlined above. Our partners at Momentum Health are provided physiotherapy for all Alberta Ballet Students – including Open Division Dancers – at their Mission Clinic location. For more information and to learn more about the clinic’s staff, visit their website!
We are also proud of the Alberta Ballet Dance Science Partnership. The program highlights the science behind ballet. In this partnership, Alberta Ballet School’s pre-professional trainees benefit from the research undertaken by the University of Calgary’s Department of Kinesiology. The goal of the partnership is to help support students in their pursuit of longer, healthier careers on stage.