Dancing is a performance art, a form of expression, a great full-body exercise, a stress releaser, and a way of earning livelihood. There are many forms of dancing, and likewise, many types of dancers. But what remains the same in all forms is that dancing demands the individual to be in good shape, and have great footwork and body movement.
Modern dance, hip hop, tango, salsa, and classical ballet - all are physically demanding forms of dance that really put work on your bones and muscles. As a result, dancers have to make sure they are in great shape to reduce the risk of muscular and skeletal conditions, particularly in the lower body.
So it’s important that a dancer has great foot flexibility, endurance, and strong muscles and joints in addition to good coordination and dance skills. The overall fitness and wellbeing of a dancer should also be considered as they go through gruelling training and schedules which can stress the body.
Practising and executing a number of techniques, positions, and movements may contribute to the development of lower body injuries in dancers. A good example that comes to mind that has been studied extensively is ballet.
Ballet is a highly formalised form of dance, requiring precise and coordinated set steps and footwork. Long hours of practice and performance can stress the big toe, forefoot, and the ankle joint. Many set steps in ballet involve balance and movement using the tip of the toes, which places great stress on the ankle joint and ligaments.
As a result, the risk of ankle and toe injuries is greater in ballerinas. A study by Rehmani et al. on elite ballet dancers highlighted that overuse injuries such as impingement syndrome, plantar fasciitis and Morton’s neuroma were the common problems these dancers faced.
Hip hop dancing, on the other hand, has more extreme movements such as the 6-step, flare, and windmill to list a few. As a result, the rate of injury in hip hop dancers is greater than dancers who perform modern, tap, or ballet. This was highlighted in a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. The study suggested that injuries to the feet, ankle, knees, and hips were common in hip hop dancers, and 50% of dancers showed signs of overuse injuries.
Awareness for injury prevention and using protective equipment is very important in order to minimise injury risks and reoccurrence in dancers. As optimal footwork is necessary for almost all forms of dance, the use of foot insoles can be beneficial to support the feet in the best posture and aid in the treatment of and recovery from a host of conditions.
Foot insoles such as MASS4D® help promote alignment and optimal range of motion from the feet up. By supporting the foot in its optimal posture, MASS4D® enables healthy distribution of weight. This helps limit excessive movements in the feet and the lower body while reducing stress placed on the ankles, knees, and the hips.
Copyright 2018 MASS4D® All rights reserved.
Reference: Rehmani, R., Endo, Y., Bauman, P., Hamilton, W., Potter, H., Adler, R. (2015) Lower Extremity Injury Patterns in Elite Ballet Dancers: Ultrasound/MRI Imaging Features and an Institutional Overview of Therapeutic Ultrasound Guided Percutaneous Interventions. Hospital For Special Surgery: July 2015, Vol. 11, No. 2. DOI 10.1007/s11420-015-9442-z
Reference: Ojofeitimi, S., Bronner, S., Woo, H. (2012) Injury incidence in hip hop dance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports: 2012, Vol. 22, pp. 347-355. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01173.x
Pilates refers to a series of exercises that target the core – the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, and so on. The movements involved in pilates also help to improve flexibility and posture while promoting core stability.