Dealing with an Injury as a Dancer

I think most athletes will agree that there is nothing worse than having to sit at the sidelines and just watch because you have an injury. I have recently been suffering with a hip bursitis so know how frustrating it can be to either have to sit and watch or “take it easy” during class (if there is ever such thing for a dancer as we tend to get carried away by the music). Injuries massively vary in the world of dance for obvious reasons and it is injury depended on what advice or treatment your doctor will give, below are some of my tips for dealing with different injuries.

(NOTE: I am not a doctor and you should always consult your doctor for any medical advice)

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Short Term Injury

Now there are no quick fixes when it comes to injuries but there are lots of injuries that only require a short time to heal such as a pulled muscles and strain (nothing new to any dancer). Often with these injuries there are home remedies that can be used such as:

  • Heat
  • Ice
  • Elevation
  • Rest (yes the dreaded word for any dancer but it does work!)

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Medium Term Injury

For medium term injuries such as fractured or badly sprained ankles there is not much you can do to heal other than rest and follow your doctor’s advice but there are a couple of things you can do to stay in shape while you wait:

  • Step up your nutrition because with less exercise means you are at risk of putting on weight but making sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet will help combat this.
  •  Use your arms (if it’s a leg injury) so when you are sitting there watching class you can still visualise you completing the steps and use your arms to get the feeling of the music (yes it may look strange but it will help you get back quicker). You can also still do arm workouts while resting your injury.
  • Strengthen your abs so you are still in shape when you can dance again. It will depend on the injury as to how much you can do but even if it is just some basic mat Pilates it will be so helpful in the long run.
  • Visualise everything – I know this wont necessarily help you stay in shape but it will help keep your mind in shape and make sure you know the exercises or variations when you go back.

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Long Term Injury

Unfortunately long-term injuries can happen at any stage in a dancers career but it is important that you follow your doctors medical advice and seek specialist help if needed. Often with a long term injury the dancer will reflect on their options and decided if the current path is the correct one for them, this is a decision that has to be made by the individual with the support of their loved ones to help them get them through it. It can feel like the end of the world if you are told that there is no quick fix for an injury but I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason and you will be set on another exciting path. It is important to discuss all options and possible paths you could follow but always remember that not everyone will dance professionally but everyone can dance.

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Recurring Injury

These injuries are slightly different in that they require more work and perseverance to heal as they are often caused by some sort of weakness in the dancer such as ankle, knee, hip or core strength. Below are some ways to help combat recurring injuries:

  • Progressing Ballet Technique – this program has strengthening exercises for all aspects of ballet and can be extremely useful when studied consistently.
  • Physiotherapy – doctors will often send a patient to physiotherapy so they can be given specific exercises to help strengthen the relevant area.
  • Pilates – it is always useful to strengthen your core but when you are suffering with an injury such as a bursitis core strength is even more important (this is what my doctor recommended to me).
  • Yoga – if your injury is connected to tight muscles yoga is a very good way to get a whole body workout and stretch at the same time.

Overall there are lots of different things you can do but everything depends on the specifics of the injury itself. If you have any questions please comment below

Thanks, Hannah 🙂

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