Many young kids that participate in sports can have complaints of pain in their heels. This is more common in children who are actively growing and those who are very active in running and jumping sports. Young gymnasts fall into this category, and they also practice and compete barefoot, which can lead to a higher risk of injury to the foot.
Author: Jacqueline Burnett, Dancer, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
I left behind my “performance-ready” body two hours before Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s opening night at the Harris Theater on March 12th, 2020. We had completed technical rehearsal, and I was about to see Madeline G., Athletico Performing Arts Physical Therapist, who was waiting for dancers needing one last moment of help before lifting the curtain for an extremely physical evening of dance. Just then, our directors came to the stage and announced the show would be cancelled due to a city-wide response to Covid-19. The following 20 months turned into a completely different lifestyle, and now Hubbard Street has finally returned to the theater this past weekend with a live theater audience.
Hip injuries in dancers comprise about 17.2% of all muscular and bony injuries. These injuries are often hard to diagnose because many have overlapping signs and symptoms. Injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Some injuries are traumatic from a fall, contact, or another impact like a fracture or an avulsion (where a muscle can yank on its bony attachment and pull some bone loose). Additional injuries can come from overuse and result in tendinitis (or other tendinopathies), bursitis, snapping hip, strain, or a labral tear. Some are bony, like Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) or dysplasia. Whatever the cause, a hip injury can be frustrating for a dancer.
Foot injuries can occur when playing sports but a shoe or cleat can often protect the foot from injury. Some sports, like gymnastics, are performed barefoot. Gymnasts have extra demands placed on the small muscles of the foot as they are not getting the support of a shoe. When training barefoot, there is an increased demand of the muscles in the foot and lower leg. These muscles will help to stabilize the foot and ankle which may reduce the risk of ankle sprains or injuries higher up the leg such as in the knee or hip. How can gymnasts help prevent injury when training barefoot? Here are some ways gymnasts can strengthen their foot muscles to improve their performance.
In any sport or activity that puts demands on the body, injuries can occur, and dance is no different. Some of the most common injuries seen in physical therapy clinics in regards to dancers, are injuries related to the foot and ankle. The following information serves to help educate dancers on some of the more common ankle injuries, along with techniques that could be applied to help minimize the risk of these injuries. It is important to note that only a licensed medical professional can diagnose an ankle injury.
Walking, running, jogging, dancing, are all functional activities we do daily without thinking about it. They simply come second nature to us and are essential to a healthy life. What if your big toe, also known as the hallux, was amputated? Would you still be able to do what you love at all or even with ease?
Dancers’ leaps, turns, and lifts can seemingly defy laws of physics. In order to jump higher and turn faster, dancers must implement cross-training for strength and endurance. Dancers from around the world have faced new challenges practicing at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, it is important for dancers to pursue physical fitness outside of traditional dance class to ultimately improve their technical abilities for when they hit the stage in the future.
Co-Authors: Andrew Ludwig PT, DPT and Bryan Lind PT, MPT, ATC
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues around the country and the world, dancers have been taken from the studios and moved into their homes for virtual practices and performances. While the performing arts have had to adapt to these challenging times, it opens the door for potential injuries as many dancers do not have the proper equipment to practice safely and effectively in their home. In this blog, we’ll explore dance safety and the steps you can take to practice safely.