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Dance rehabilitation

Dancers, whether amateur of professional level place their bodies into postures and perform movements not seen in normal activities of daily living. These postures and movements within specific types of dance may also be repeated hundreds of times.

This has implications on the amount of load and exposure to these repeated movements especially when rehabilitating from a traumatic or overuse injury. It also has implications for how advanced dancer’s movement control, strength and balance has to be before progressing rehabilitation regimes.

For this reason it is important that dancers and able to access high-quality, specific dance rehabilitation by experienced clinicians in this area such as our physiotherapy teams.

Acute or traumatic injuries

Landing injuries and injuries caused by the rotational demands within certain types of dance include ankle sprains, knee ligament injuries and knee cartilage tears (often referred to as meniscal tears).

Other acute injuries are often caused by excessive demands on muscles when propelling the body in to jumps and when kicking in to the extremes of range. The muscles of the thigh (hamstring and quadriceps muscles) are the most commonly affected muscles sustaining tears.

Chronic or overuse injuries

Overuse injuries are also commonly associated with repetitive jumps and dynamic kicking movements. The Achilles, patellar and hamstring tendons are commonly seen overuse injuries in need of dance rehabilitation.

Dancers may also suffer from overuse injuries affecting the hip joints and joints of the lower spine and pelvis. These injuries are often associated with the dancer repeatedly moving in to postures without having the strength and stability needed to support these joints.

How can dance rehabilitation help injuries?

When rehabilitating acute/ traumatic injuries dour physiotherapists will initially guide you through appropriate techniques to reduce swelling and stiffness as quickly as possible. Using their experience, our physiotherapists will then apply manual techniques and advise regarding stretches to restore flexibility to injured tissues when they are ready.

Once the injured tissues or joint is ready our expert dance rehabilitation physiotherapists will then prescribe movement control, balance and strengthening exercises. These exercises will be progressed into specific movements needed to return to dance training.

When dealing with overuse injuries, our physiotherapists will also train the injured tissues or joint in terms of the flexibility and load characteristics. However, our expert dance rehabilitation physiotherapists will also perform a detailed biomechanical analysis of why the injury has arisen. Treatment will aim to correct these biomechanical flaws with movement control or neuromuscular control exercises and sometimes with changes in footwear or orthotics.

Specialists offering Dance rehabilitation

Dr Kate Hutchings

Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine


Circle Reading Hospital

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