We’ve all sat glued in front of the TV for the finals of So You Think You Can Dance, or Dancing with the stars enjoying the different styles from Jazz, Broadway, and musical theater styles to those with a rougher and street-style texture to it like hip-hop and krump. And most of us has seen dirty dancing (probably more than once and probably because we fell in love with Patrick Swayze).
But how much does it actually take to be able to maneuver one’s frame into such amiable positions?
Let’s be honest, most of the positions we see these artists performing challenge their physical limits each and every time they try to become an absolute master of a set of pirouettes or a planche (-a position taken from gymnastics which involves both hands on the ground, straight arms, and the rest of the body is held off the ground completely horizontal).
In consideration of neuromuscular, psychometric, and environmental parameters some researchers rank ballet just behind football as the overall most demanding activity.  It is interesting to note that lactic acid blood levels have been reported to reach 10 mmol/L during a choreographed dance solo, which is comparable to what top-class football, squash and hockey players achieve during a game. Koutedakis Y and A Jamurtas. The Dancer as a Performing Athlete: Physiological Considerations.  Sports Med 2004; 34 (10); 651-661.
The most common injury is in the foot/ankle (53 per cent), followed by the hip (21.6 per cent), the knee (16.1 per cent), and the back (9.4 per cent). In general, dancers experience lower extremity injuries during difficult jumps, specifically landing. However, male dancers can also be prone to injuries in the upper extremities, or back, due to lifting maneuvers. Gamboa JM et al. Injury Patterns in Elite Professional Ballet Dancers and the Utility of Screening Programs to Identify Risk Characteristics. JOSPT 2008; 38(3); 126-136.
Typical injuries of a dancer may include:
• Metatarsalgia
• Plantar fasciosis
• Tibialis posterior dysfunction
• Ankle instability
• Peroneal tendonosis
• Patellar tendonosis
• Iliotibial band syndrome
• Hamstring tendonosis
• Hip flexor tendonopathy
• Sacroiliac dysfunction
• Lumbar and cervical facet, irritation/syndrome
• Rotator cuff tendonopathies
• Lateral and medial epicondylosis
Here’s how our Chiropractors, Accupunctirist, Nutritionist and Physios can help:
• Spinal and extremity manipulation/mobilization
• Acupuncture
• Kinesio taping
• Therapeutic modalities (such as muscle stimulation)
• Training or technique advice
• Diet and supplement advice
• Movement modification
• Rehabilitation (including flexibility, stability, proprioceptive, and eccentric exercises for tendonopathies)