| Whether the dancer is a recreational dancer or a professional dancer, all face the same variety of injuries. Old or young, tall or short, thick or thin, all dancers face many of the same common risks and dangers. Sprained ankles, tendonitis, and muscle injuries all occur regularly in thousands of dancers around the world.
An extremely common injury, not just among dancers, but also among most athletes, is the sprained ankle. Acute pain and swelling of the ankles is one of the most obvious symptoms of a sprain (Wellness). The dancer?s frequent pirouettes, jumps, and pivots put a large amount of stress upon the ankles. If a dancer falls out of his pirouette or does not land their jump correctly, he is in grave danger of a sprain. For female dancers, placing themselves in the arms of a male places them at a high risk of being injured (Clifford). The male partner controls the level of risk. If he does not make sure that she is on her leg as she is supposed to be before she plunges into four pirouettes in a row, she may twist her ankles.
Placing the idea of partnering aside, a dancer who has poor posture, whether it is a large amount or an infinitesimal amount, sets an extremely high risk of having ankle problems. Dancer fatigue is also a major factor in why a dancer may sprain an ankle. If the dancer dances for hours on end with not enough resting time, he may crash and fall, spraining the ankle. Proper technique is a requirement for a dancer if he does not want to get hurt. Dancers must know the correct way to perform the moves so that they do not do something wrong and get themselves intotrouble. It may not seem possible, but the floor may also play a role in ankle sprains. If the floor is too hard when a dancer lands, the impact and force is pushing against him and may cause an abundance of pressure to the ankles. A floor that is too springy requires much more work from the dancer?s legs, which can cause the tissues to weaken and eventually result in sprained ankles (Clifford). Slippery and sticky floors also may cause many problems for a dancer. Slippery floors make the dancers foot and other muscles tighten. Sticky floors, floors with too much traction, add resistance and cause more potential for muscle fatigue, again resulting in ankle sprains.
Apart from floor structures and characteristics, a dancer must trust both his body and his partner, if he is working with one. Not having trust for their partner and their capabilities may increase the dancer?s tension level, resulting in tightened muscles and reduced control. This lack of control and stability dramatically increases the risk of ankle injury. If a dancer does not trust his partner, the issue must be discussed and the pair must work it out before they approach the dance floor.
Understanding that proper ankle warm up is vital to staying healthy is extremely important, so that a dancer can avoid injury. An appropriate warm up helps reduce the amount of stress a dancer has on his body. This warm up also increases a dancer?s strength. Strength in the ankle is important because it reduces the risk of a dancer?s ankle from collapsing. The pointing and flexing of the foot are the major movements that the ankle joint enable. If a dancer is not capable of going through these moves, he is considered unable to perform. Lateral ligaments are the main part in the ankle joint that get injured and sprained. If this ligament gets completely torn, the ankle loses all strength and becomes unstable, making a dancer incapable of even walking. All of these risks for the ankle and the ankle joint are the reason why dancers have concern for their ankles and try to keep themselves safe so that they do not jeopardize their careers (Clifford).
Burning sensations or tightness in a dancer?s lower calf to heel may indicate that he has Achilles tendonitis (Wellness). Having Achilles tendonitis puts a dancer on the sidelines. This common injury among dancers makes them unable to do vital moves. If a dancer does not apply proper care promptly, this common injury may take a turn to the chronic side. If the slightest hint of tendonitis arises, a dancer should allow his body to rest and begin healing.This reduces the risk of the injury getting worse. Avoiding jumps and turning combinations is vital to the healing process. Persisting pain within the Achilles tendon mayrequire a doctor?s consultation. If the pain is diagnosed as tendonitis, it means that there is a micro trauma and inflammation of the tendon (Keller). Icing the Achilles tendon once or twice a day and staying away from the dance floor will keep the injury from getting worse. Chronic tendonitis requires a different and more strenuous response.
Reviles are extremely common moves in ballet both for the males and the females. This movement occurs when a dancer elevates and rolls through their feet, ending up onto of only the balls, or the tips, of their feet. The heel rises are good for strengthening, but can easily cause tendonitis. Doing relives with feet in a parallel position is good way of reducing the symptoms and/or risk of tendonitis. Poor technique both in class and out of class can result in tendonitis. If a dancer rolls his feet in when landing jumps or forces too hard when in plie, he may become a victim of Achilles tendonitis. If a dancer feels the symptoms of tendonitis, he should see a doctor and may need to get an x-ray (Keller).
The muscles of both the feet and the entire body are injured often in the ballet world. The muscles are not only at risk of being pulled, but may even ?pop? out of their proper places (Clifford). They can be torn, dilapidated, and tattered. The foot contains many muscles, all of which are important for a dancer. There are two main groups of muscles in the foot, the intrinsic and the extrinsic muscles. The intrinsic muscles are only within the foot and do not spread throughout the body. These muscles are not very long or strong. The extrinsic muscles are much more powerful than the intrinsic, and they are also much longer. These muscles extend from the lower leg through out the ankle area, exerting their power and effects into the foot. Muscles near the foot that are very susceptible to injury are the tendons that are located behind the ankle joint that control the ability to point and flex the feet. They can easily be torn and injured (Clifford).