Navigate Up

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.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA