“Train for years, dance for minutes, live for seconds.”
Dance Medicine Rehab is one of the most vital components to creating the healthiest and most cost-effective forms of injury prevention in dancers. Regardless of the type of dance, whether ballet, tap, cheer, modern, breakdance or cultural, dancers express their identity by the way they move. They don’t like to be lumped together with athletes because most athletes can return to the game at less than 100%, but not dancers. There is a greater vulnerability in their performance because of the imagery they portray on stage as artists.
Most dancers, in general, are “bendy”, but that hypermobility of their body causes them to have impaired proprioception and neuromuscular control, increasing their risk of injury. Proper rehab focuses on improving the stability of both the hip and foot core. Why is the core so important? Because it gives the body control. Control of the postural and trunk muscles above and stability of the leg muscles below. Muscles generate movement, but control comes from the nervous system. Thus, rehabilitation of a dancer’s injury is most successful thru unilateral balance exercises to improve proprioception throughout the lower extremity kinetic chain and pilates exercises to increase both local and global stability of the body. The more we as healthcare providers understand the physical and mental demands of the dancer, the better comprehensive care we can provide for them.
-Sara Ansari, DPT, MMACS at Dedham Health