Preparing for The Nutcracker
Co-authors: Katie Warner PT, DPT, OCS and Evan Boersma of The Joffrey Ballet
December is a magical time of year in Chicago, with plenty of festive things to do to enjoy the winter holiday season. The Joffrey Ballet puts on an impressive run of The Nutcracker this year, featuring 25 full-length performances from December 3rd to the 27th. There are additionally two abbreviated performances for local schools. “Joffrey’s beloved version of The Nutcracker takes inspiration from the 1893 World’s Fair, one of the city’s great historical attractions of the late 19th century.” Athletico is proud to be the Official Provider of Physical Therapy for The Joffrey Ballet. In anticipation of this season’s production, we wanted to spotlight the preparation that goes into it from the perspective of company dancer Evan Boersma and myself, one of the physical therapists.
Top Areas to Foam Roll for Gymnasts
Warm-up and recovery are important parts of a workout routine that often get overlooked. A dynamic warm-up prepares the body prior to exercise; conversely, recovery or cooling down after exercise can help manage soreness. Active recovery is a great option to help manage normal muscle soreness symptoms after high-intensity workouts. It is normal to have muscle soreness after high- intensity exercise; this can last for several hours up to several days. Active recovery may help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
Sever’s Disease in Gymnasts
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.
Jacqueline Burnett of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: Back on Stage with ‘Re/Turn’
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.
Common Hip Injuries in Dancers
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.
4 Foot Strengthening Exercises for Gymnasts
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.
4 Common Ankle Injuries in Dancers
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.
No Big Toe, No Big Deal?
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?