Did you know that the most common injuries in ballet dancers are overuse injuries?
Overuse injuries are a product of repetitive load during which the dancer has poor movement control. Examples of this include:
- Forcing turnout from the knees/ankles rather than the hips
- Sickling or fishing at the ankles through rises
- Scrunching of the toes to stabilise on demi pointe
- Over-reliance on the shin muscles to support the arch rather than the intrinsic foot musculature
- Returning to dance after school holidays
- Poor foot and hip specific strength-focussed warm-up before commencing pointe work
- Swaying the hips forward
Between 46% and 76% of pre-professional and professional dancers experience an injury each year (2,3,4). The most common injuries in recreational dancers are to the knees and in pre-professional and professional dancers in the feet and ankles (1,2). It’s important to note that 36% of chronic injuries that are reported by professional ballet dancers started before they reached the age of 18 (5).
What Does This Mean?
On the plus side, overuse injuries occur secondary to poor neuromuscular control and reduced load tolerance. This means they can mostly be prevented! If you have had an injury, are experiencing some pain or discomfort or are returning to a dancer after a break; come in to see our Dance Physiotherapist Alanna Churcher for assessment and diagnosis. She will be able to educate you about the areas you can work on and create a specific warm-up and conditioning program tailored to your body and your goals.
Written by Alannah Churcher
Ph: 03 9789 1233
Langwarrin – 83-85 Cranbourne rd, Langwarrin