Dance is hard both mentally and physically, so it’s important to consider strategies to help prevent injuries. Here are 3 injury prevention tips for dancers that are often overlooked!
1. Get strong!
No, we don’t mean you need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but being strong throughout your full range of movement is essential. Many dance routines require extremes of movement – whether it be going on pointe OR performing a backwards walkover. If you lack strength, then you place increased pressure on your joints and soft tissue structures. An example of this is posterior impingement (pain at the back or side of the ankle) in ballet dancers on pointe.
So how do you know where you can improve? Have a screening with a qualified physiotherapist and address your specific strength deficits.
Dance is hard both mentally and physically. Unlike other sports, who may train 1-2x a week plus a game, many dancers will attend class 5-6 x a week for >2 hours a day. This is A LOT! Especially in a child who is skeletally immature.
So to help your body recover try:
Contrast bath or cold water immersion after a big class
Foam rolling/gentle stretching (for mobility not flexibility)
Yoga or meditation
A complete rest day
Most young athletes will require between 9-11 hours sleep. Less than 7 hours sleep will decrease your accuracy, reaction times and coordination. It will also reduce your executive functions, such as your ability to learn new skills (especially if you have already been to school all day).
In fact, sleep has been shown to be one of the strongest predictors of injury!
Shorter sleeps = less cell regeneration and repair = increased risk of overuse injuries.
Ideas for a better sleep
Reduce screen time 30-60mins before bed
Meditation apps (Headspace, Calm, Beditations etc)
If you drink coffee/caffeinated drinks – don’t have it after midday!
Make sure you room is dark