When dancing is brought up as a topic in a conversation, most people only talk about the dancer’s form, style, and techniques, the music that accompanies them, and the overall effort put into the execution of the choreography. A common aspect of dancing that is often overlooked is the risk of injury—after all, dancing is also a physical activity. Dancing, by nature, places a high demand on the performer’s physical abilities, including muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Here at N2 Dance Productions, we know that these situations occur more frequently than not. It’s all part of the process, just like how the ugly duckling had to overcome life’s challenges to eventually come out on top! And so, we come prepared in the event of an injury. In addition, we teach and try to prevent injuries in advance—here’s a list of COMMON DANCE INJURIES: TREATMENT AND PREVENTION!
- ANKLE SPRAIN
The “ankle” is the spot at which the leg and foot come together. It is the first part of the body to come contact into the ground (unless you’re en pointe!). Swelling, stiffness, numbness, and immediate pain upon contact are among the symptoms.
Causes: The ankle was overstretched as a result of incorrect movement, particularly when it twists inward or “rolls”, resulting in a stretched or torn ligament.
Treatment: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, otherwise known as “the RICE method”, will help you rise with good footing in no time! Take note though, that too much is always bad. One must try to engage in easy-to-do exercises to get the right feel for walking again, and the ice should be applied for no more than 20 minutes. If compression is available, avoid wrapping it too tightly, and do not apply it simultaneously with the ice! Serving as the cherry on top, the foot should be elevated above the waist level while being compressed— then close your eyes and relax!
Prevention: Mind your footwork. Make sure the ground you’re treading on is stable and always pay attention to each step. Dancing is fun, but be careful not to become overly excited and make awkward step!
- LOWER BACK STRAIN
Sprains and strains sure are common among dancers! A lower back strain is distinguished by occasional muscle spasms, and an aching sensation that also makes bending or standing straight difficult.
Causes: The back was curved excessively, which could have been caused by stressful, repeated actions that led to muscle rigidity, or tearing. The muscles might have also been startled by sudden, high-impact activities.
Treatment: Sufficient rest and ice application are necessary to help your body in repairing itself. If the pain is unbearable, you should consider taking pain relievers.
Prevention: To avoid any back pain at all, one must practice proper body posture and movement. You can also build muscles to relieve tension and strengthen your back. Doing back exercises and stretching also helps in becoming more flexible.
- ACHILLES TENDINITIS
A tendon is a connective tissue that binds muscles and bones together, allowing us to move. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the muscle on the back of your lower leg undergoes an intense or repetitive strain, causing an inflammation that results in swelling and aching pain.
Causes: This injury is associated with over-exertion of stress onto the Achilles tendon. Intense or repetitive activities such as running, jumping, and vigorous dance moves. It may also be caused by an underlying condition such as degeneration of the Achilles tendon.
Treatment: Although it will take a long time, the tendon will heal by itself. You can opt for anti-inflammatory drugs and topical creams to reduce the pain. Consider physical therapy as well, as staying inactive for the duration (we’re talking about months here!) will only worsen the problem. If you think that it is beyond non-surgical treatments, do not hesitate to get a check-up.
Prevention: You’ve probably overused your tendons. Do not rush your body in the process; increase the intensity of the activities gradually at a comfortable pace. If possible, you should work out, for obesity can increase the likelihood of tendon strain (but do not knock yourself out doing so!).
- SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT
Impingements are often neglected at first as symptoms will not show immediately. You might even already have the syndrome! It comes in the form of pain on the top of your shoulders accompanied by swelling, which will worsen over time as the injury progresses.
Causes: Although impingement comes with age as a sign of wearing over the years, it may also be triggered by overworking the muscle mentioned above. Repeatedly stretching upwards, reaching into your back, or rotating your shoulders will only aggravate the injury.
Treatment: The usual rest, ice, and pain relievers will do the trick! If it did get too bad, consider physical therapy or taking a check-up for possible surgery.
Prevention: We advise that you stay active and train your muscles, but avoid workout routines that might be too hard for your body.
Here are tips to prevent dancing injuries in general:
- Do warm-ups
Dancing is a strenuous activity. Before you start to dance, you must first condition your body to be on par with the task. Lack of initial preparation may startle your body both physically and mentally. Warm-ups increase body temperature and blood circulation, effectively signalling your nerves and muscles to improve their performance.
An ideal warm-up routine should include stretches and exercises for the legs, neck, shoulders, spine, hips, ankles etc.
N2 PRO TIP: A warm-up routine that exhausts you defeats the purpose of a warm-up.
- Wear proper dance attire
What you wear isn’t only for the looks or the likes on Instagram! It also provides maximum comfort for a particular dance style! Hip-hop style fashion exhibits a hip and urban feel while still being loose enough for breakdancing. In contrast, when you look at a ballet attire or a gymnastics leotard, it noticeably allows the wearer to move without being restricted by their clothes. It also allows our instructors to correct your body posture and alignment.
Wearing appropriate footwear is equally important as wearing the proper dance attire. Our feet are what we use to traverse through the stage. Aside from a uniform, the appropriate shoes make it easier and more comfortable to pull off dance moves and effectively prevent knee, ankles, toes, and other lower-body injuries.
N2 PRO TIP: Our uniforms are designed to offer style and comfort for our dancers.
- Know yourself
Everyone is built differently and has their limits, which you can overcome, of course! Poor posture, weak muscles, tight hamstrings, being underweight or overweight, and poor upper body support can make certain body motions difficult, limiting you from dance steps.
Time to get up! Train your body for fitness and endurance while increasing the intensity level of your training at a sensible rate. You can also pick a dance style that is suited to your liking and your capabilities.
- Take a break
As you have probably noticed, we have been quite repetitive in overworking your muscles for this blog entry. But even if you didn’t burn yourself out, not being in the mood to dance can be dangerous as you may not be paying attention to your form. For such a demanding world, dancing isn’t the only thing that wears us down daily. So come on, launch yourself into that bed! And if we still can’t convince you into taking that break, check out our blog on other activities that work well with dancing! All those hours spent on dance practice will all be for nothing if your body is injured doing so! Here at N2 Dance Productions, we will make sure that your talent in dance is developed in a safe learning environment prepared by our well-trained instructors. The question is: Are YOU prepared? Call us at 0422 939 749 when you are!