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