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Nothing Pretty About Dance-Related Injuries

We are proud to be celebrating 30 years of providing medical services to Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.

What some people might forget is that dancers are more than performing artists – they are athletes. The strength, speed, and stamina necessary for a dancer to perform at a high level equal that of any competitive athlete.

The physical characteristics of dancers resemble those of high-level athletes, as do the many injuries they sustain.

Factors that contribute to these injuries include:

  • Strength and flexibility deficits
  • Poor conditioning
  • Improper management of previous injuries
  • Poor technique or nutrition
  • Changes in training or floor surface

Common Dance Injuries

The majority of dance injuries result from overuse, and are commonly caused by repetitive stress and predisposing factors, like weakness or inflexibility.

Typical overuse injuries to the foot, ankle, and lower leg, include:

  • Stress fractures
  • Tendinopathy
  • Sprains

Treating Dance Injuries

Treatment of these injuries include:

  • Relative rest
  • Pain control, as necessary
  • Rehabilitation
  • Addressing underlying predisposing factors, such as weakness and inflexibility
  • Correcting technique

Tips for Preventing Dance-Related Injuries

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Practice proper nutrition and hydration
  • Wear proper fitting shoes and replace them when they begin to show signs of breaking down
  • Address injuries early
  • Do not dance through pain, as it may be a warning sign of an underlying injury

Athletic trainers and physical therapists at UPMC Sports Medicine want to keep dancers injury free.

Services we Offer

  • Musculoskeletal screening at the beginning of the dance season to address strength and flexibility deficits
  • Correction of technique errors
  • Nutrition counseling

Contact UPMC Center for Sports Medicine's board-certified athletic trainers and physical therapists, at 412-432-3600, to make an appointment.

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