Dance is a great activity for your child, as it promotes strength, balance, coordination, and discipline. However, as with many great things, there is a point where too much of a good thing can lead to injury.
It is important to be aware of the most common dance injuries and how to avoid them.
Overuse injuries (injuries from using your joints and muscles too much) are the most common in dancers:
⁃ Foot and ankle injuries: Achilles tendinitis, trigger toe, and ankle impingement.
⁃ Knee injuries: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (see previous blog post!).
⁃ Stress fractures of the foot, ankle, legs, and back.
Ankle sprains are the most common traumatic injury in dancers. Traumatic injuries are different than overuse injuries as they happen unexpectedly. Ligaments become overstretched and may experience tears. Once you have sprained your ankle, you are at risk of doing it again. It is important to build muscle strength to prevent further injuries.
How do I know if pain is from an injury?
In most cases, the pain you experience after dancing is muscle soreness that usually subsides within 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes it takes a few days for muscles to get sore, which is also normal. Be aware of the following types of pain, which may indicate an injury has occurred:
⁃ Pain that wakes you up at night.
⁃ Pain that is present at the start of an activity.
⁃ Pain that increases with an activity.
⁃ Pain that makes you shift your weight or otherwise compensate your movements.
Please see Part 2 of this blog post series, to learn about Dance injury prevention, and good cross training exercises for dancers.