Dealing with injuries

Dancing is a sport and as such takes a physical toll. Be sensible and realistic about your dancing. If you are in pain, especially sharp and increasing pain, rest and consider seeking medical advice. The brain interprets the body for you and pain is always experienced for a reason. You are the person best equipped to make the right decision, not your dance partner, team mate or coach. Dancing injured will only result in prolonged recovery time.

The RICE method

This is a self-help method best used for pulled muscles, sprained ligaments, soft tissue injury, and joint aches. It is NOT a substitute for seeking medical advice. Applying R.I.C.E. treatments will decrease pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, swelling and tissue damage.

Rest Ice Compression Elevation

If you can lie down for an hour with your foot resting on four pillows, so it is higher than your heart, you will drain the foot of fluid and reduce the swelling. Remember: Always apply ice wrapped in a towel to swelling (raw ice applied directly will burn the skin). NEVER apply heat to swelling because you will blow a minor injury out of all proportion. Healthcare professionals often see patients present with serious conditions because of their self-treating with heat packs. Ice until numb and do not ice again until the area has returned to normal body temperature. Never ice for longer than 30 minutes at a time.

Useful things to have at practice/comps

  • Plasters
  • Ibuprofen (more useful than paracetamol as it has anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Deep Heat
  • Deep Freeze
  • [tubigrip/pressure bandage if you have one]

Stress fractures

Hairline fractures, often of the metatarsals of the foot. Pain is experienced in the ball of the foot and the upper of the foot is tender to the touch. Attempts will be made to shift weight off of the foot, in all weight-bearing activities (including walking). The fracture will need 6 weeks to mend, and the bone a year to become fully strong. To begin with weight will need to be kept off the foot using crutches or an air cast.

How to avoid:

  • Warm up and warm down properly
  • Don't dance full-out on unsprung surfaces
  • Do ankle-strengthening exercises
  • Take your heels off when not dancing and walk around in flats (the heel height channels our entire body weight into the ball of the foot).