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Suzit42

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DD15 is an a small, approx 30, young, 7-17, comp team. The studio is in its third year. We have not had injury issues until this year. In December, a thirteen year old who has been dancing for years and does quite a bit of acro training at a local gym, had a stress fracture in her spine, yikes. She was in a back brace for two and a half months. After being cleared to take it off, she was marking dances at the studio. In three weeks, she competed her solos. It seems awfully soon but I'm not the parent. Two weeks ago, another 13 year old got a stress fracture in her foot and is out for the season. This was her first year of competing and she was in three dances plus classes. This past weekend, another girl was having foot pain. She has been competing for years and does lots of acro (handsprings, aerials, etc) at the dance studio. She competed two solos Friday night. After that, her foot was bothering her. Saturday, she danced in our production where she does multiple handsprings, aerials, etc. Right after that, her dad took her to urgent care. Her X-ray was clear but the doctor told her a stress fracture would be coming soon if she didn't rest her foot. Mom says SO and DT would make the call as to what dances she would be in. She did dance in three of the six dances in Sunday. When anyone rolls an ankle, it's suck it up buttercup and keep dancing.

This recent wave of injuries has me concerned. I have no physiology training. Maybe there is something we are doing or not doing at the studio that contributes to this? Does your studio have anything in place regarding injury prevention?
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #2 
In all the years DS danced (17 of them) I never saw an injury that was caused by anything other than an accident.  Our seniors trained 15+ hours/week and lots of them did acro and never had an overuse or mis use injury.  We had some broken arms because they fell in the playground and concussions playing other sports but that's it.
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cndb

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Reply with quote  #3 
What kind of floors and sub floor are they dancing on?

Multiple sress fractures with different dancers make me think the injuries are related to the floor, just as multiple knee injuries make me wonder about the ballet training and/or flooring.
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cndb

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzit42

This recent wave of injuries has me concerned. I have no physiology training. Maybe there is something we are doing or not doing at the studio that contributes to this? Does your studio have anything in place regarding injury prevention?


Unfortunately I think a lot of doctors offices are very quick to rubber stamp releases to return to dance. In my opinion, this is due to a lack of understanding as to the athleticism required for dance. They know the body impact of gymnastics and football, but seem to view dance as gentle floating around with graceful arms and not much work, so they don't seem to view it as seriously with regards to injury recovery. That is why it is important to try to find a doctor who is experienced with dancers. This holds true for PT as well during the recovery. A doctor not experienced with dancers won't necessarily understand things like a dancer's natural range of movement & flexibility compared to the general population or even other atheletes like a soccer or softball player.

In this case it is up to the parent to advocate for their child's health and recovery. Often we see parents want to go to the doctor and say what can we do to get my child dancing in this competition as soon as possible, when they should be taking the approach of what can we do to get my child back to the best recovery, regardless of the timeline. The parents should be honest as to the demands of the body with a full dance load as the doctors might not have a realistic viewpoint as to what a full dance load entails. And parents need to set firm boundaries, even if it means not being part of a team or missing a season or competition. Listen to your gut. A good and knowlegeable well trained teacher will respect this. If they don't, look for other options.

Bypassing a full recovery on a child in exchange for ten to twenty minutes on stage is not worth it in my opinion.
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jlm645

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Reply with quote  #5 
Perhaps that is all coincidence, but 10% of your students experiencing a significant injury in less than a year doesn't seem "normal" and should at least be evaluated.

Learning when to work through pain or illness, and when to allow yourself time to heal is a tricky balance for any kid to learn (and lots of adults).  At a minimum it doesn't sound like the students are getting the best help figuring that out.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #6 
Suzit42 - I guarantee it is the flooring, poor ballet training, and the emphasis on Acro. The studio is just dance flooring over concrete. You can hear the difference between jumps on sprung floors and the thud of landing on concrete.

The dance studio is NOT a place to be continuously doing back handsprings and aerials. Sure, the mats are there when they are learning the skill but not during rehearsals, etc. Gyms at least have their springy floor exercise apparatus.

It is just crazy that a parent will want to rush their child back into dance after that back injury! The child is the one that will have to live with the complications of that injury forever.

I'll admit this: At old studio, there were so many nights after dance DD would need Ben-Gay rubbed on her shins. She'd be in tears. This year, at new studio - with professional sprung floors - not ONE complaint of sore shins.

That really needs to be addressed. These girls are at risk of permanent damage.

ETA: To be fair, the studio web site says "sprung floors." Hmmm
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #7 
I would NEVER, EVER let my kid dance on floors that are not sprung.  PERIOD.
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MariaS

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Reply with quote  #8 

I'm a movement coach that works with a lot of dancers, and a huge thing that stands out to me in terms of injury prevention is over-training and inability to control all their flexibility (ie strength to support their huge range of motion). Too much dance training and not enough recovery combined with being super flexible and not having the strength to control it. A recipe for injury.


I recently found The Dance Training Project and am loving this site. Check this article out: http://danceproject.ca/these-7-essential-strategies-will-change-the-way-you-dance/#.VV6IEEaJmSo


It's part one of a 3 part series written by a dance PT. Really sensible stuff.


Another thing to consider is asking the studio to implement a screening or wellness program, or partner with a PT clinic. Knowing that the injury rate in dance is around 100%, it's worth it to find a studio/teacher who has best-practices at heart.

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