| Essential parts of a dancer’s body that enable him to perform are the bones, ligaments, tendons, and the muscles. Without the proper state of the bones, muscles, or others, a dancer is considered unable to perform. A damaged, torn, or broken part of a dancer’s body brings extreme physical pain, which is often times so excruciating that the dancer has to rest and stay away from the dance floor. While some of the injuries may be minor, they can always still limit a dancer’s ability. Although the bones of every person are vital to normal living, to a dancer, not having their bones in the right condition is career threatening. A broken or merely sprained bone may cause them to have to give up what they have been working in achieve for many years of their life. Some bones may also get moved or out of place and cause extreme pain. Even though the bone is not broken, it can still cause extreme pain, and may even be at the point where the dancer is unable to perform in the classroom or on stage.
Key bones of a dancer’s body that are easily broken or damaged are the knee, the anklebone, and the bones of the feet. While these are some of the major bones in the body that can be injured, there are many others, less common, that may be impaired. For example, if the Cubold bone, which is located outside of the ankle, is damaged, a dancer experiences pain that can prevent him from pushing off his toes. This motion occurs when jumping and when doing pirouettes. If a dancer is unable to do these basic moves, he is, in essence, unable to dance at all. If the Cubold bone is displaced or injured, a dancer must consult an orthopedist or a podiatrist in order to insure complete and adequate recovery.
Another common bone injury in a dancer’s body is shin splints. This grievance often occurs in sports and activities that require numerous movements where the heels rise and fall often. Shin splints cause pain on the inside of the shinbone. Merely using ice and refraining from jumping for a few days can treat this injury. From time to time, this injury may last more than a few days and if this is the case, getting a physician’s opinion may be good idea (Wellness).
Knee bones are under extreme stress just in everyday life. Imagine how stressed a dancer’s knees are. They are required to resist, assist, and take most of the weight when a dancer is landing a jump. When a person is simply walking up stairs, the ligaments are loosened and the knee is bent, causing extreme stress. The body tries to assist the knee by changing the weight from one leg to the other and by straightening the leg. While this does relieve a little bit of stress on the knee, the bone is still under possible damage-causing stress. While dancing, a dancer is on his feet most of the time. During this time, the knee mostly supports the body’s weight. Because of this strain on the knee bone, it is susceptible to damage that is, in some cases, extremely difficult to heal. If injured, the knee bone may take up to three times as long as an anklebone to heal (Clifford).
There are ligaments and muscles that surround the knee which, if injured, are also considered “knee injuries”. In order to help alleviate damage to these muscles and ligaments, a dancer must avoid fast movement, if possible. They can also perform strengthening exercises, especially using the quad muscle, to help make these areas stronger. If injury does occur, rest and apply treatment to the wounded areas. The kneecap is also a major part of the knee bone area. This cap is attached all around the bone by ligament tissues and the quadrates femoris muscle (Clifford). Kneecap injuries are especially common in female dancers. This is because females have larger hipbones, which increases the angle of quad movement. If the knee bone, kneecap, or any part of the knee is injured, ice the area, use cast or rigid bondage, and consult a physician to insure that the area will not cause an end to any dancing careers (Clifford).
Dislocation of the hip is also a common injury to a dancer. The ball-and-socket joint allows people to move freely and to be able to have stability when they are walking, running, or just merely standing. If a dancer were to dislocate this joint, he might have extreme pain and might not be able to move his leg. Even though the hip and thighbone, associated with hip dislocation, are fairly hard to force out of their sockets, a dancer’s strenuous activities make dislocation a common occurrence. Hip dislocation, being considered an orthopedic emergency, should be treated by not moving the injured person and placing him in blankets in order to ensure that he stays warm. After these first measures, the injured should immediately consult a physician and begin to take an anesthetic or a sedative so that the doctor can then perform surgery in order to relocate the hip. If complications arise with the injury, an X-ray and/or surgery may be needed in order to make sure the hip repairs correctly. This healing process may take up to two or three months and may require the use of crutches when walking. If the hip dislocation problem is not completely healed correctly, there may be long-term damage for the dancer as well as for the average person. There may be a higher risk of arthritis for the injured or the protective cartilage covering may never heal in the correct place (News Update).
Improving turnout is a main goal for most every dancer. A dancer’s turnout is their his range in hip movement (News Update). If a dancer with good turnout is walking down a street, people who do not dance or know anything about it may say that this person is “duck footed.” To a dancer, this is a good phrase. The problem with working your turnout is that many dancers work their hips too far, forcing and straining them. Although all dedicated dancers want to exaggerate their turnout, a new requirement on the amount an instructor may force their dancers’ turnout has been issued that changes this mandatory turnout limit. There is a hope that this new requirement might reduce the number of professional dancers that are forced to get hip replacements (News Update). In order to help ensure that a dancer does not permanently injure his hips, he should do stretches and properly warm up before performing or practicing. Stretches help loosen up the sockets and allow the hips to move more freely. Occasional clicking and popping noises within the hip joints are normal and usually not a cause for concern. It is not until the clicking noises become frequent that the dancer may have a problem (Keller). Doctors may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and tightness within a dancer’s hips. If the dancer’s hip pain persists, doctors may check to see that the legs are of equal length or that the pelvis is level. If these conditions are not true, they are most likely the cause of the dancer’s pain. A dancer must also make sure that they are not “sitting into their hip” or “hiking the hip” which both cause the pelvis to twist and force unnatural positions (Keller). Hip dislocation is watched very carefully among dancers in order to ensure that both their bodies and their careers are not in jeopardy (AAOS).