In May last year I wrote an article outlining common dance injuries and ways to treat them. This post can be viewed using this link; https://radancefitness.com/2017/05/17/injuries-in-dance/. Similarly to that post, this weeks post will also focus around injury. Informing you of external factors that can contribute to injury, in order for you to have further education for injury prevention.
Starting with the most obvious sign of injury, that many overlook, is that if you feel pain you should stop. This will give the body time to recover, as there’s something going wrong during that movement or exercise, or just with that part of the body for that moment in time. Think about when the pain changes in intensity, does it get deeper when you bend that joint or stretch the area in a certain way. Knowing more about the injury can help you determine what movements to avoid during your resting period. When you feel pain within a dance lesson, stop doing that movement immediately, rest at the side and slowly begin to move the area affected to see if this helps. If it does not sit the rest of the lesson out if the pain is in an area that is crucial for dance, like the ankles or the knees. Continue to rest the body until it feels good enough to dance on again, ice and heat can be used during the rest period if needed. If the pain continues however, do go a see a doctor. Seeking advise from your dance teacher alone is not enough, as they are not qualified medical professionals. While many will have had experience with dance-based injuries they don’t have the qualifications to give you the most up-to-date and effective advise available. Once you’ve sought medical attention, do take the advise, if it is to rest for 3 weeks, that’s what you’ve got to do. You can still go to class but make sure you’re sitting out. This will mean you can still learn new routines and exercises but aren’t risking your own health to do so.
A great contributor to injury can be tiredness. In times where you’re tired, you’re more likely to be a little bit sloppy with your movements, giving less attention to the motions. This can be particularly dangerous when the actions are more intense, like jumps and turns. If the movement isn’t executed in the correct manner injuries are likely to occur. When you are feeling a little out of sorts, make sure you tell your teacher at the start of the lesson. Ask if they’d mind if you marked some of the exercises and didn’t do the whole lesson full out, to help with injury prevention. Make sure you’ve asked first though if not your teacher may get the wrong idea, and think you just don’t want to put in the effort.
One useful thing for injury prevention is to know your own limitations, highlighted in Hamilton (1988) . Your limitations may me the amount of hours you’re comfortable with each week, or the time periods you know you’re at your best. They can also be about how far you can stretch certain limbs or the movements you know you’re capable of. Know your capabilities and don’t push them too far, if you’re comfortable with one hour of dance a week, don’t suddenly do 6 hours of dance in one day. Pushing your body in these ways will open it up to injuries, as it isn’t used to those levels of activities. Gradually build up the amount of dance or stretching you do, to prevent injuries in the long term. Everyone’s limitations are different, know yours to be dancing for as long as possible.
Last of all, a good way of monitoring how likely an injury is, or if there is one you need to be aware of, is to monitor your performance levels during class. Week to week the class will feel different, based on mood, but your performance levels are also likely to change, if they are slowly declining it may be that there is an injury, or overtraining that is going on. Having a little rest can help with this and can help refresh the body in order to prevent injury.
I hope you enjoyed this topic, it is should help you in your own practise. As always, be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments, or via my social media.