Whilst dancing may not be classified as a sport (with the exception of ice dancing which is an Olympic sport), it puts as many physical pressures on the body – if not more – than competitive sports. Therefore dancers need to treat their bodies as carefully as sports people do.
Problems for dancers are commonly caused by repetitiveness and overuse rather than acute injuries, with the feet, ankles and legs most prone to stress fractures, sprains, strains and tendon damage. Children generally take up dancing at an early age – 5 or 6 – and the repetitive moves they need to practise in order to gain strength, flexibility and endurance make them vulnerable to injuries caused by overuse. And as dancers get older, they become more and more vulnerable to those injuries.
Factors that can exacerbate overuse injury
There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent dancing injuries:
Massage has gained popularity with dancers as a way of preventing injuries or, if they do happen, to aid in their recovery. Massage increases circulation which helps oxygen reach the muscles, and also helps the body get rid of toxins and lactic acid which build up and hinder movement. It also helps to reduce tension in the tissue and stretches the muscles, allowing for greater flexibility and movement.
It’s no wonder so many dancers are turning to sports massage therapists for help.