When talking about the topic of sports many people would agree that dance isn’t the first activity to springs to mind. However the harsh reality is that the physical demands placed on the bodies of dancers have been shown to the make them just as if not more susceptible as football players to an injury. The underlying cause of these circumstances is due to the fact that most professional dancers begin dancing at the ages of five or six. It’s the repetitive practice of movements that require extreme flexibility, overall strength and endurance that makes them prime candidates for what’s known as overuse injuries. Next to stage fright, it’s these overuse injuries that become a dancers biggest nightmare. For many dancers depending on the severity of the injury it’s their bodies’ simple way of ending a career and something the dancer has enjoyed all their life.
Across the spectrum of dance there is very little doubt that the vast majority of injuries are the result of overuse rather than trauma. The foot, ankle, and lower leg area is the most vulnerable to a wide range of injuries (Solomon and Russell). The following are types of injuries but are not limited to, stress fractures, tendon injuries, sprains, and strains. However, it’s these injuries that show up in greater frequencies. As dancer’s age their chances of becoming injured caused by overuse significantly increases, which is why is it so important to emphasis ways to prevent future injuries.
According to expert consultants Ruth Solomon and Jeffrey Russell, dancers are exposed to a wide range of factors for injury. The most common issues that cause dance injuries are the type of dance and frequency of the class, duration of the training and the conditions of the environment. Most wouldn’t consider the floor type and temperature in the studios but these factors play a huge role in injuries. Along with the previously stated, the equipment used such as shoes can cause damage because the individual’s body alignment can be altered. Alongside these issues, the appearance of previous injury to body parts and nutritional deficiencies are among the biggest risk factors for the dancing community (Solomon and Russell).
In 1996, several doctors teamed up to better understand the prevalence and risk factors for theatrical injuries and conducted a survey of performers in Broadway productions and touring companies (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). The doctors obtained information from three hundred and thirteen performers across twenty three different companies. Shockingly they instantly found that fifty five point five percent of the performers were injured (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). When put in terms of numbers that averages to 1.08 injuries per dancer. The lower extremity injuries were the most common at fifty two percent, followed by back at twenty two percent and the neck at twelve percent (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). The least frequent injuries occurred in the upper extremities with the shoulder consisting of only six percent of the dancers (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). Of the lower extremities the knee at twenty nine percent, ankle at twenty five percent, foot at twenty percent, and the hip at twelve percent (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). As the study reported factors that significantly increased the risk of injury for dancers, it was their goal to heighten the concern for reduction prevention through stretching, proper warm up technique, and overall general care for their bodies (Evan, Evans and Carvajal). After acquiring an injury taking the proper treatment in order to recover your body to it fullest potential is most important.
Your spine is made up of three sections; the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar (Fukishima). When it comes to back injuries, dancers tend to get injured in their thoracic or lumbar regions. The most common injury is frozen back, which is when the muscles in the back spasm (Fukishima). This is caused by fatigue, hyper mobility, inequalities in the...
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