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Dance Medicine


By: Dr. Caroline Joy, PT, DPT


Dancers are dedicated to one of the most beautiful forms of art that requires unique physical demands compared to other athletes. It only makes sense that medical professionals have collaborated to create a personalized approach to dancers’ kinesiology and health referred to as “dance medicine.” As a Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor with a growing dance background, I have developed a strong passion for helping aesthetic athletes get out of pain and train effectively. I continue to strive on expanding my knowledge in the field of dance medicine as well as educating others on it.



Why Dancers Require a Unique Approach

Dance itself requires an elite level of strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. The “goals” to consider for elements such as joint range of motion, muscle length, balance, and strength go outside the normative values that are emphasized in a traditional Doctoral of Physical Therapy curriculum(1). That being said, it takes a medical professional with background knowledge in dance to efficiently treat dancers and collaborate on appropriate goals.


Common Injuries Seen in Dancers (2)


Ankle/foot: ankle sprain, Achilles tendinitis, ankle impingement, hammer toe, trigger toe, metatarsal fracture, sesamoid fracture, ankle impingement

Knee: Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Hip: Snapping hip (hip flexor or ITB), hip impingement, labral tear, hip flexor tendonitis, Sacroilliac joint dysfunction

Back: soft tissue strain, muscle spasm


Building Relationships With Dance Medicine Professionals


Dance Medicine professionals will commonly reach out to local studios and universities to have their role be known in the community. If these professionals are running workshops or informational sessions, it is in a dancer’s best interest to attend and get acquainted with a medical professional that they trust. From personal experience, during my clinical work with NYCB, I noted the performing arts PTs maintaining relationships with dancers throughout the entirety of their adolescence and career! You can also use some of the resources below to research dance medicine professionals in your area.


Dance Medicine Resources


How can you learn more or support the dance medicine community? Look into the following organizations:

International Association of Dance Medicine: https://iadms.org/

Locate a provider through IADMS: https://iadms.org/find-a-provider/

Performing Arts Medicine Association: https://artsmed.org/


Connect with Me


If you’re local to Saratoga County you can find me at the following locations

Physical Therapy: In Motion Integrative PT in Saratoga Springs, NY

Physical Therapy: The Green Room Physical Therapy in Clifton Park, NY

Pilates: The Dance Lab in Saratoga Springs, NY

Check out “DanceStrong",” the Strength and Conditioning Summer Program I will be instructing this summer in Saratoga Springs, NY!


References


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