What You Should Know About Dance Injuries

By Lisa M. Schoene, DPM, ATC

   In recent years, dance medicine has become increasingly separate from the traditional sports medicine culture. As dance injuries are being evaluated and studied from many different medical perspectives, it is becoming more apparent that there is a serious need for dance medicine specialists to educate not only the dancers but the dance company managers and teachers.    Awareness of injuries among dancers and their need for proper treatment and rehabilitation has become more accepted by the dance community. Prompt evaluation and treatment can facilitate long lasting benefits for dancers, and reduce the risk of damaging or career threatening injuries. Early intervention and treatment can save money, time and potential long-term disability. Intervening with young dancers can set a positive tone for future injury prevention and knowledge.    Dancers, like professional athletes, operate in a very competitive environment. Given this competitive culture, paranoia can set in for dancers. When they suffer injuries, they may seek medical care outside of the company’s medical staff and pay out of pocket in order to conceal an injury. Dancers realize that their contract may be scrutinized for past injury history and may ultimately lead to dismissal. It is understandable why this occurs as the average age for a dancer to retire may be in the mid- to late 20s, which is similar to the average retirement age of professional football players.    Fortunately, these attitudes towards medical care for the dancer are changing, due to intervention by doctors, physical therapists and company managers. Accordingly, this helps promote longer, healthier careers.

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