Dance Medicine and Wellness - Pittsburgh, PA

The art of dance is a unique practice due to its mixture of artistic and sport-related exercises and presentations. Dancing requires strength, flexibility, and stamina. But it can also come with a high risk of injuries. In fact, studies have shown that dancing five hours a day or longer leads to increased risk of stress fractures and other injuries.

From hip and back problems, to foot and ankle injuries, to knee issues, dance can take a toll on the body - often to a point where rest is not enough to support one's recovery. Pain in dancers that wakes you up at night; that begins at the start of (and/or increases) during an activity; or which forces you to shift your weight to compensate for the pain should always be reported to a doctor.

That’s where we can help. At Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness, we strive to help families address the health issues that can arise from dance practice. Dr. Prisk of Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who is trained in evaluating musculoskeletal conditions throughout the entire body. His evaluations can focus on joint, bone, tendon, ligament, or muscular pain or injury. Following an exam, he can assess your - or your child’s - need for conservative or operative care. And should any care needs fall outside of his specialty, he can offer direct referrals as needed to ensure treatment is provided.

To report a dance-related injury and begin discussing your or your family’s care needs, please contact Dr. Prisk at (412) 525-7692 or submit an online appointment request form.

Physicals, Arthroscopy & Biological Treatments, and Injury Management for Dancers

Dancers are susceptible to unique injuries and stress fractures that require specialized care. That’s why we provide pre-participation physicals for dancers and surgery-free treatment options designed to heal injuries using the latest, minimally-invasive techniques. Request an appointment online or call our office to learn how Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness can help!

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FAQs on Dance Medicine and Orthopaedic Evaluation:

What Are Some Common Dance Injuries?

Overuse is the leading cause of injury among dancers. An "overuse injury" is defined as any type of muscle or joint injuries - such as tendinitis or a stress fracture - that are caused by repetitive trauma. Among dancers, common overuse injuries affect:

  • The Hip. Snapping hip syndrome, hip impingement, labral tears, hip flexor tendonitis, hip bursitis, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction are the leading dance injuries that affect the hip.
  • The Feet And Ankles. Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, trigger toe, and ankle impingement are the leading dance injuries that affect the feet and ankles.
  • The Knees. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the leading cause of knee injury among dancers.

Dancers are also prone to stress fractures (in the feet, lower legs, sesamoids, and even lumbar spine) and arthritis of the knee, hip, ankle, and foot.

In addition to overuse injury, dancers can sometimes suffer from traumatic injury, i.e. severe injuries that happen unexpectedly. Ankle sprains are the most common traumatic injury among dancers. They can occur during a poor landing, because of poorly fitted shoes, or because a patient already has misaligned ankles. When an ankle is sprained, it’s possible for the ligaments of the foot to twist, overstretch, and/or tear. And depending on the severity of these issues, a patient may not be able to recover without medical intervention. 

What Are My Treatment Options For A Dance Injury?

As with other orthopaedic issues, your next steps for a dance injury will depend on the nature of the problem, as well as factors such as your overall health, dance level, and so forth. It is best to discuss your particular treatment options with a doctor who specializes in dance injuries.

In general, for traumatic injuries like ankle sprains, your doctor may recommend RICE treatments (i.e. rest, ice, compression, and elevation), joint protection and physical therapy. 

Additionally, for stress fractures you may need to limit weight on your foot by using crutches, wearing a leg brace or walking boots. 

And finally, surgery is typically used as the last resort when treating dance injuries. 

What Types Of Dance-Related Services Are Available At Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness?

Our practice focuses on several key areas of dance injury medicine, including:

  • Pre-participation Physicals. We offer Walk-In and Same Day Appointments for pre-participation physicals for dancers. It is important for all dancers of all ages to undergo one of these physicals. They allow doctors to screen for potential risks to injury prior to engaging in rigorous training programs. Screenings involve functional movement assessment and anatomical alignment evaluations.
  • Non-Operative Injury Management. Some injuries cannot be avoided - but some surgeries can be. Dr. Prisk is a conservative surgeon who will explore with you the non-operative management of your condition, when possible, and help you to work around injuries to stay active in your dance practice. Care options like Bracing, Physical Therapy, E-Stim, Nutritional Interventions, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, and Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrates can be explored.
  • Arthroscopy and Biological Treatments. Arthroscopy involves the use of small incisions and the insertion of a special camera, which allows for a close examination of joint conditions and some soft-tissue conditions. In these cases, an inside look at an injury can help with treatment planning, and even potentially lead to a quicker recovery. In combination with biological treatments (like PRP and autologous stem cell harvest), some patients have a quicker recovery from their condition. Dr. Prisk is a specialist in arthroscopy around the ankle, including hindfoot endoscopy for conditions like Os Trigonum Syndrome/Posterior Ankle Impingement and Haglund's Deformity at the Achilles Tendon.

Because every dance-related injury is different, it's impossible for us to answer every question about your care needs here. We want to help you properly, via a collaborative care process that puts you and your health needs in full focus. And it all begins with a conversation about your health, needs, and goals. To review your care options in-depth, please contact us at (412) 525-7692 or submit an online appointment request form.