As International Dance Day is celebrated yearly on April 29th, it is a good opportunity to reflect upon the life of a dancer as an athlete and as an artist: the endless hours of rehearsing and mastering techniques, the years of training and ultimately, the strain on the dancer’s body. Dance injuries and overuse syndromes are so common that many consider them as an inevitable part of a dancer’s career. But is it really so?
Dance injuries – overuse syndromes: The facts
The development of Dance Medicine and Science, with the collaboration of the medical community and allied applied sciences, has led to an unprecedented, in-depth study of the dancers’ health issues. This knowledge enables for earlier recognition and in many cases prevention of painful conditions, frequent in various dance styles. As a rule, fatigue, linked to a sudden increase in the level or intensity of dancing seems to be the common denominator of dance injuries.
The facts according to current literature are impressive:
- 3 out of 4 injuries occur in the evening or at the end of a rehearsal
- The annual prevalence of dance injuries is estimated to be 75-95%
- Dancing more than 4 hours a day predisposes to trauma
- Monotonous and repetitive choreographies without necessary breaks lead to injuries and overuse syndromes
- The foot and ankle region is injured most frequently, followed by the spine, hip, pelvis, and the knee joints
Dance injury prevention
The prevention of dance injuries is based on an individual assessment of each dancer by a team of trained specialists. We evaluate the dancer’s body composition, posture, muscle strength and balance, nutrition and cardiovascular conditioning. The whole kinetic chain is assessed, looking for conditions such as scoliosis or lordosis of the spine, flatfeet, leg length discrepancies, and hyper-laxity or instability of the joints. Equally important for the dancer’s musculoskeletal health is the hormonal balance. Amenorrhea in young dancers, especially when combined with nutritional impairments may lead to osteoporosis or even stress fractures (!)
Dancing without pain
What are the future perspectives for a better well-being for dancers? The future lies in the development of specialized multidisciplinary teams monitoring the dancer’s health and performance. Dance teachers and groups consult the Orthopaedic Surgeon who collaborates with an array of allied health professionals, including physiotherapists, nutritionists, personal trainers and heath psychologists. In the city of Thessaloniki, these specialists constantly increase their level of cooperation in the interest of the dancers’ health.
Orthopaedic Surgeon Panos Symeonidis
+30 2310 258100