Get Moving Again
At RHP Physiotherapy we have 15+ years of experience working with performing artists, particularly ballet dancers. We treat many dancers from the Queensland Dance School of Excellence, the Queensland Ballet Company and local dance schools. Ballet is a very high impact activity and thus dancers are as vulnerable to injury as athletes. Ballet is not just physically gruelling. The competition between dancers with them all trying to achieve ‘perfection’ in their technique adds to the physical and mental stress. For example, dancers frequently perform injured because they are afraid someone will take their place for a performance.
Many dance movements, particularly ballet techniques, such as turnout of the hips and rising on the toes (en pointe), test the limits of the human body. Even with perfect form, over-repetition can degrade quality of performance and the body’s muscles and joints. Some studies say up to 80 percent of professional dancers will be injured in some significant way during their careers.
Techniques such as turnouts, plié, performing numerous jumps (single or double leg), landing jumps and relevé all may look easily performed by finely tuned dancers, however their muscles and joints are working incredibly hard. Poor dancing conditions such hard floors, a cold studio or theatre, or dancing without sufficient warm ups also increases risk of injury. Without proper management, injuries will occur – low back pain, hip pains, knee pains/injuries, shin pains and ankle/foot injuries are common ballet injuries.
Treating dancers of all genres requires a holistic approach because both intrinsic factors (strength, flexibility and stress level) and extrinsic factors (dance floors, volume of dancing and rest periods) need to be assessed and managed. At RHP we are experts at analysing the whole picture to ensure every piece of the puzzle is in place. We consult with the teachers, parents, analyse the dancers whole body biomechanics (with the additional use of video analysis) and visit the students’ practice sessions (if required) to help develop exercise and body management programs. Screening of dancers helps identify injury risk factors and physical restrictions that may impede performance. We can also refer to the best specialists when the injury necessitates.
To minimise injury we emphasise good strength and endurance programs at home and practice sessions, and appropriate rest periods and stress management. Good ‘habits’ from a young age are important to develop the dancers’ body and mind appropriately.
We believe it is advisable for dancers practicing multiple times per week to have regular physiotherapy checkups to ensure the body is in the right groove, and hopefully ward off injury, rather than reactive care once injury presents. This promotes physical health, helps maximise performance, and in the long run is more affordable than managing injuries.
If you want to maximise your dancing potential and dance without pain - Contact Us now!