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Dance Injuries

Common Dance Injuries and Their Causes


Dance Injuries

Dance injury

Photo © Stockbyte / Getty Images
Participation in physical activity comes with a risk of injury, dance being no exception. New dancers must build their strength and flexibility slowly and safely. One of the most important ways to prevent dance injuries is to take the time to properly warm up the major muscles of the body. Despite our best intentions, however, dance injuries do occur. Following are 7 common dance injuries and their causes.

  • Muscle Cramp

    A painful muscle contraction usually felt in the back of the leg and in the front of the thigh. Muscle cramps are caused by fatigue or muscle tightness, or an imbalance of fluid, salt or potassium from heavy sweating. To prevent muscle cramps, make sure to stretch before and after dancing.

  • Muscle Strain

    A muscle strain causes tenderness of the muscle and possibly swelling. Muscle strains are caused by sudden contraction of a muscle and poor flexibility. Dancers are particularly prone to muscle strains in the lower back.

  • Shin Splints

    Shin splints cause pain on the front portions of the lower legs. Shin splints are caused by jumping on hard surfaces, improper landing, and poor flexibility. All dancers should be especially cautious to land properly after attempting a jump to avoid shin splints.

  • Plantar Fasciitis

    This condition causes chronic pain and inflammation to the foot, especially to the heel. Pain may also be felt in the arch. Plantar faciitis is particularly common in ballet dancers who wear pointe shoes.

  • Stress Fracture

    Stress fractures cause pain and swelling, and usually occur in the shins or balls of the feet. They are usually caused by repeated jumping and landing. Female ballet dancers seem to be at high risk for developing stress fractures in the lower legs and feet.

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