Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Dance Injury Treatment and Recovery

When injury occurs the sooner the injury is assessed, managed and receives appropriate treatment the sooner you will recover and it's less likely the injury will become chronic. However, if you ignore the warning signs and symptoms the longer an injury can take to heal. It can be frustrating waiting for an injury to repair but some dancers return to training or performance too early and this can lead to more problems.



With all injuries, it is vital that medical advice is sought so a positive diagnosis and treatment follows. The following information provides simple guidelines always seek medical advice.

Assessment and management of dance injuries
Immediate injury assessment - STOP

Stop - Stop the class or activity
Talk - Ask what happened, describe how it happened and what type of pain you are feeling
Observe - Look at the injured body part, compare it to the adjacent body part for swelling, heat, redness or loss of function
Protect - If possible immobilise the area to prevent further damage
Immediate and early management - RICER

Rest - Reduce the metabolic demands of the injured area. Stop participating in the activity and lay or sit down
Ice - Apply ice 10 minutes maximum, limits the damage, reduces temperature, limits the bleeding
Compress - Apply a compression (or tubigrip) bandage to the injury. This controls the amount of swelling
Elevate - Lift above heart level and support the injured area. It lowers the pressure and helps to limit the bleeding
Refer - Seek medical advice as soon as possible to receive appropriate treatment, rest and rehabilitation

Continue RICER 48/72 hours after injury, applying an ice pack for up to 15 minutes every 2 hours for the next 48 to 72 hours, it relieves pain and prevents excessive swelling. Note: never apply ice directly to the skin.

WARNING! DO NOT apply ice:
  • If you have circulation problems
  • Over open wounds
  • Directly onto skin (wrap a towel between the skin and the ice)
  • If you cannot feel sensation in the injured area
  • If it causes you pain
  • For the first 48 to 72 hours after injury - NO HARM

NO Heat - Heat increases swelling and blood flow to the injured area
NO Alcohol - Alcohol increases swelling (do not or eat or drink during acute stage)
NO Running - Any exercise activity can cause more damage to the injured area
NO Massage - Massage can cause more damage to the injured area

IMPORTANT: Always seek medical advice, after care advice and rehabilitation.

Injury Management
Understanding the correct management of dance injuries can help you minimise the risk of further damage and maximises the chances of a full recovery. Common injuries in dance are mainly soft tissue injuries.


Areas of dance injury:
  • Tendon - Joins muscle to bone
  • Ligament - Joins bone to bone at joints
  • Cartilage - Pads the bones in the joints

Types of dance injury:
Acute - This occurs suddenly, often with severe pain, for example, a sprained ankle
Chronic - This happens over time as a result of overuse, e.g. tendonitis and can continue for prolonged periods of time

Common Soft Tissue Injuries in Dance:
Injury   Description
Strain Over stretching of the muscle or tendons, which may result in a partial tearing or pull e.g. torn hamstring
Overuse When damage builds up gradually as minor overuse causes micro-trauma to occur over a continued period of time
Sprain The joint and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion e.g. sprained ankle. Sprains can vary in severity
Tendonitis Occurs when the tendon or its sheath becomes over-stressed or inflamed. Often in dance due to overuse
Bursitis A bursa is a small sac which becomes inflamed within a joint caused by pressure or friction

What Is A Serious Injury?
For serious injuries prompt medical attention minimises damage and will help speed recovery.

CAUTION: This information is no substitute to a relevant first aid or professional medical advice.

Injury Symptoms What To Do Next
Fracture (broken leg) Pain, swelling and deformity Trained person splint area and seek medical help
Sprain (ankle sprain) Pain, swelling, reduced r.o.m. (range of motion) RICER (see above) seek medical help and physiotherapy.
Strained Muscle (hamstring pull) Pain, swelling, reduced r.o.m. RICER seek medical help and physiotherapy.

What Is A Minor Injury?
In dance minor injuries occur more often than serious injuries. However, they might have serious long term consequences if left untreated and therefore it's advised to seek medical treatment if problems persist.

Injury                         Symptoms                                               What To Do Next
Overuse (e.g. shins) Activity increases tenderness and pain RICER decrease activity, see a physiotherapist
Shin Pain            Painful, swollen shins. Worse with jumping RICER see your doctor or a physiotherapist
Muscle Soreness    Pain during or after activity                     RICER see your doctor or a physiotherapist
Cramp                 Muscle spasms                                           Rest, drink fluid, stretch, adjust training, seek advice

Advice After The First 72 Hours
Self Massage
NEVER massage the injured area and do not massage at all during the initial acute stage (48 - 72 hours) of injury. Under the advice and guidance of a massage therapist, it can be useful to massage the surrounding muscles around the affected area to promote healing. CAUTION: this should not cause you sharp pain, if it does, STOP. Always seek professional medical advice.


Heat Treatment
This can be beneficial only AFTER the initial acute stage (48 - 72 hours) of injury. Under the advice and guidance of a doctor or physiotherapist heat can be applied to promote healing.

Many dance injuries can be prevented with appropriate conditioning and training (see the fitness and cardiovascular endurance articles), wearing appropriate clothing, and working in the right environment. Unless you are trained in first aid, you should never try to treat a casualty. Always seek medical assistance.

Injury Recovery Visualization


Injury Recovery Visualisation by lstanyer

NEVER listen to this audio recording when driving or when you need to concentrate on a particular task.  Only listen when you can relax and not be disturbed from any distractions.

This audio recording will guide you into a state of relaxation, it is best to be comfortable and either sit or lay down in a comfortable place free from distractions.

We advise you listen to this audio recording through headphones for best results.  To begin with, it is best to listen on a daily basis to develop your visualisation skills.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura Stanyer/Power Dance System and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

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