Do Dancers Need Physical Therapy? By Paige Ellsworth – PT, DPT, AT, ATC at Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists Physical Therapy
A new Orthopaedic Rehab Specialist clinic specializing in PT for dancers, cheerleaders and gymnasts opens in May! Learn more about ORS Red Cedar HERE.
Dancers spend endless hours perfecting their craft. It takes incredible dedication, commitment, physical and mental strength. For many, it is a way of life. Unfortunately, the repetitive nature of the sport and the physical strain it requires can lead quickly to injury.
Often the injuries start with something nagging – something easy to ignore – but can quickly turn into something that limits participation. Some examples might include: a pinching sensation in the front of the hip or ankle, back pain when trying to lie flat to sleep at night, or knee pain – but only when trying to turn, jump, or twist. While seeming minor at first, the dancer could be dealing with impingement syndrome, a tendinopathy, or even an instability that they are unaware of.
By seeking out a physical therapist, a dancer can have a full evaluation to identify impairments that might lead to future injury, even if not having pain at this time. The evaluation will make sure that the dancer has the appropriate strength, flexibility, and mechanics to safely perform the tasks they are trying to achieve.
Do they have appropriate hip range of motion to achieve turnout without compensation? Are the ankles mobile enough to achieve appropriate releve? Can they achieve a neutral spine and activate even the deepest muscles of their core?
Physical therapists are trained to identify these things and prescribe the appropriate treatment strategies to improve them. This can include manual therapy techniques, specific exercise, and even modalities to help reduce pain and inflammation. All physical therapists are trained in treating sports injuries, but there are also physical therapists with training specific to dancers that can be especially knowledgeable in this area. The sooner you find a PT, the quicker things can be taken care of!
Paige Ellsworth (PT, DPT, AT, ATC) is a physical therapist and certified athletic trainer at ORS Holt physical therapy clinic who specializes in treating athletes suffering from acute or overuse injuries due to gymnastics, competitive cheerleading, or dance. Paige will move to the new ORS Red Cedar clinic when it opens in May.
Contact Paige Ellsworth for injury evaluations at 517-268-9040.
ORS has 12 physical therapy clinics in mid-Michigan to care for you.