Whether you’re a young, aspiring dancer; a seasoned pro; or a recreational dancer, you’ve probably experienced a dance-related injury at some point during your dance training.
Approximately 50 percent of dance injuries from overuse are foot and ankle injuries. Injuries of the lower extremities comprise the vast majority of all dance injuries. Most injuries increase seasonally as rehearsal and performance schedules increase (via podiatrytoday.com).
Kerrie Flynn, LMT, our resident Massage Therapist and Instructor, joined us on Twitter for our live #MyJoffreyLife tweetchat, to answer the most common questions on how to prevent and recover from dance injuries. Check out these quick tips that Kerrie shared with us below, and learn how you can protect your body against common dance injuries.
How To Prevent & Recover From Dance Injuries
What’s the most common dance injury you see among dancers & what’s the best way to treat it? Chronic muscle spasms. Soften the spasm, then strengthen it. Soften the spasm with a massage therapist, foam roller, or heating pad. A hamstring injury or spasm, especially, need to be released by muscular therapies.
Many dancers suffer from recurring ankle sprains and injuries. What do you suggest to strengthen ankles? Strengthen the Tibialis anterior muscles, the front of your shin muscles.
Do you recommend icing for sprained ankles?
No. Icing shuts down the healing process. I recommend using a heating pad, and getting into a hot bath with epsom salt.
How do you stay in shape while recovering from an injury?
Great question! It depends on the location of the injury. In general, I recommend cardio or swimming.
Do you recommend any particular types of foods or supplements to help prevent injuries?
Yes. All vegetables, and supplements such as calcium and magnesium, and lots of water! Vitamin C is also great for healing soft tissue injuries.
How can dancers prevent injuries from occurring during intensive dance training?
Always arrive to class or rehearsal early, get plenty of sleep, and do a proper warm up.
What are some common myths/mistakes that cause dancers to get injured?
A common myth: static stretching before class is good. IT IS NOT!! Static stretching weakens muscles. A weak muscle cannot be ready or at its best to dance.
What do you recommend as an alternative?Active stretching or dynamic stretching is best. Active, or dynamic stretching is a type of flexibility technique that MOVES. It warms you up.
What can dancers do to ease the pain of tendinitis in the knees before and after dance classes?
Before: warm up with a theraband to bring blood to the muscle and warm it up. After: gentle cool down.
Why is it that when it rains, certain areas of the body, that have been previously injured, start to hurt?
Dampness effects muscles on a very deep level. Sit by a fireplace when its damp.
“Changes in temperature or barometric pressure, a measure that refers to the weight of the surrounding air, trigger joint pain.” via arthritistoday.org
How do you help dancers heal as a Licensed Massage Therapist? Why is massage therapy good for dancers? We are hands on muscle. The soft tissue specialists!
How did you get into massage therapy? What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
I was a dancer for 20 years and got sports massages for 16 of them. It helped me to stay on the stage longer!
Please note: This information is intended as a resource and should not be used to self-diagnose or treat. Please seek professional medical attention if you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or have a serious injury.
Dancers, do you have recurring injuries? What is the most serious injury you’ve experienced as a dancer? How did you recover?
Reply in the comments below and share your story with us. We’d love to hear from you!
If you found this post helpful, please share it on your favorite social media sites!
Kerrie Flynn, LMT, is our resident Massage Therapist and Instructor. She teaches the dance trainees in both the Ballet and Jazz & Contemporary Programs classes in Anatomy for Dance and Kinetic Studies. Ms. Flynn is the Creator and Supervisor of The Sports Massage Clinic for dancers at JBS – a unique project that in association of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s Massage Therapy curriculum offers an extraordinary opportunity to JBS dancers and clinical interns — sessions of free massage therapy for the dance students and an educational experience for the senior clinical interns.
This Sports Massage Clinic provides a Health & Wellness approach encouraging dance students to explore their own anatomy for muscular imbalances thus empowering them to correct them and prevent injury. Maintaining a physical and emotional healthy balance accordingly improves their dance experience and performance.
Kerrie Flynn’s expertise is based on more than 20+ years experience as a sports massage therapist, registered yoga teacher, and professional dancer. An alumnus of the prestigious HS of Performing Arts, Marymount College and The New York College of Health Professions, where for 10 years, she developed curricula in the health sciences and business programs. A member of Sport Massage Team at the Olympics’ summer games in Athens Greece, 2004, she worked with the world’s most elite athletes and along with the world’s best medical staff. Her resume includes employment with Professional Sports Teams: NBA-New York Knicks, Women’s Tennis Association-US Open, PGA-US Open and the MAC Track-n-Field.
Kerrie presently is a professor at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains her private practice.
A popular and inspirational educator, Kerrie is passionate about teaching young dancers how to take care of themselves and prolong their careers – injury free. You if have any questions regarding the Sports Massage Clinic you may contact Kerrie Flynn – KerrieFlynn.LMT@gmail.com or visit her website – www.KerrieFlynn.com