As a dancer, one endures a multitude of stresses to the body. Dancers are certainly prone to injury, just like any athlete. Injury, secondary, to dance can happen acutely due to landing poorly from a grande jeté or have a gradual onset from forcing turn-out in ballet. While the ankle is one of the most common sites of injury, all other joints in the body are at risk. Depending on the genre of dance that a dancer performs, she may experience injury more commonly at one joint versus another joint in the body.
Recently, I had the pleasure of treating a professional dancer who came to me for an acute shoulder injury. She was rehearsing for a show that was roughly 1.5 weeks away and needed immediate care to resume rehearsals and performances. The show included vigorous, aggressive, fast-paced movement, both in solo, duet, and partnering form. While being lifted in a T type lift and flipping backwards, she had a sharp, tearing sensation in her left shoulder. Initially, she taped and iced the shoulder for a few days, but then decided that she needed to seek out help.
Our treatment sessions consisted of a variety of techniques including joint mobilization, massage, neuromuscular re-education, and a variety of strengthening exercises to restore normal, pain-free motion. At Odom, we as therapists are fortunate to have a full hour of one-on-one treatment with each of our patients. This allows hands-on time for specific detail to cue for correct execution of the movement patterns. My background as a professional dancer allowed us to communicate about specific choreography using the dance language to therapeutically approach the treatments. Her course of therapy was a success and she returned to the stage pain-free with a better understanding of her shoulder. The education she received throughout her therapy sessions improved her awareness of proper shoulder mechanics/posturing both on and off the stage.
If you or someone that you know is a dancer and is experiencing any form of pain or discomfort, please feel free to contact us and set up an evaluation:
-Author: Ann-Marie Chesterfield