Written By: Helen Johnson, PTA.
How can physical therapy help someone become a better dancer?
Well It just so happens I have extensive knowledge of the dance world – all the discipline, hard work and dedication that is required to become a successful performer. I graduated with a Bachelor of Honors Degree from the London Contemporary Dance School (many years ago). 3 years of long grueling 10hour days, then weekends spent touring all over the UK with National Dance Company of Great Britain. The demands were both physically and mentally exhausting, but we all endure extremes when it comes to being successful at our passions.
I was fortunate enough to only have one injury as a dancer, a slip in the snow gave me a sprained ankle – and my first introduction to the world of physical therapy.
Not so surprisingly our school physiotherapist, an Australian lady named Sonia also happened to run the BOOT CAMP class – body conditioning, a class we all loved (not). This was the class that really made you sweat and hurt! (sounding familiar???) As tough as she was, that training gave us the tools and ability to endure the years of hard work ahead. Physical therapy does not only treat injuries but will enhance your dance skills and prepare you for your career on stage.
Most dancers have a very broad range of motion putting them at high risk of injury, but seeking out preventative treatments can pinpoint possible weakness and susceptible areas to injury. Common areas of injury include ankles, shins, feet, back, and knees. Over use, weakness, poor technique, lack of rest and poor nutrition can all attribute to an injury. Working with a physical therapist will get you the appropriate exercise program, personalized for your needs that will shorten your recovery time.