5 tips to coping with dance related injuries while training

5 tips to coping with dance related injuries while training

After 6 dedicated years of intensive training, reaching for the stars at the peak of my career, I was diagnosed with a life-long ankle condition, the same year as my graduation. My mind was telling me ‘go for it girl’, but by body warned me to slow down.

What next? How did you cope? When are you back on your feet? Are you healed yet? Are a few of many common questions I was (and still) asked. It has been a struggle answering myself and being certain with where I stand with my health & fitness.

Before I go on, firstly let me share with you step 1 to preventing any further distress and concerns with coping with dance related injuries or dance related issues that is weighing you down… seek a relevant therapists!

To gain ongoing support along your practice please visit BetterHelp and sign up today and seek a therapist.

Training

Intensive dance training requires commitment and discipline! The dancer’s body is hit with the demands of achieving physical agility, core strength and stamina, all with an artistic skill. It sounds exciting but when an injury actually accrues , what next? How would you keep up with the demands of training while coping with an injury?

Coping

So this is why you are here to learn HOW to cope while training. This is exactly what I did; I managed to pull through, performed on many platforms and met inspiring people along the way… So don’t give up.

 

  • 1. Socialise – I simply talked with fellow dance students and associates who could relate with me. As an advantage we exchanged useful medical specialist contact details. This is when I first learnt about the NHS Dancers clinic.

 

  • 2. Be proactive – Take dance classes! But of course that depends on how severe your injury is. However if it’s only minor, it won’t hurt to keep those joints moving, while improving your muscle memory. As for my situation was from the waist down, I kept on strengthening my upper half and minimised jumps & leaps. The Dance Exchange in Birmingham was really helpful and prompted me to sit out during more physically demanding exercises and to ice my ankle. However, if you can’t dance then visit the theater, watch a performance or even visit an upcoming art festivals.

 

  • 3. Physiotherapy – I’ll be honest with this one. Physio was AND STILL IS the hardest to maintain due to motivation and time. After training I was far too exhausted to sit and do physio exercises at home. So during my break time, I used that time to do my physio. I also lived away from home so my house mates kindly helped me to do my exercises.

 

  • 4. Network – Presuming you are already active in taking dance classes or visiting festivals for instance; surely you would have met someone new? I visited the International Dance Festival Birmingham, Bboy World Championships, B-Town, PHD Events, Summer in Southside and more…. I felt energised and inspired, my injury no longer became my number no1 worry, because I was too busy networking. I still stay in contact with many dance professionals such as PHD Events based in London. Due to networking with PHD, I then discovered Project Breakalign, who offers treatment services for injured dancers.

 

  • 5. Have a training plan – Get out your diary or note book and take notes of how and when you will commit to all of the 4 points above. When will you do your physio? When are you going to take a random trip to the theater? When will you find the time to sit and talk with you tutor for additional support? When talking with your tutor it is useful to plan how exactly your technique training will be altered, especially if you are working hard towards a performance, preparing a duet (as you’d be needed), or maybe your exams are fast approaching. Ensure you have made your tutor aware of your condition and what you are capable of, so adjustments are made accordingly in advance.

Services

My NO.1 advice would be is to seek professional advice from medical practitioners. There are 3 great directories I have used where I gained guidance. Plus I benefited from their services too:

  • Dancers NHS clinic – In partnership with NIDMS (National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science) there are only 3 hospitals in the UK offering FREE specialist dance treatments
  • Project Breakalign – Research project specialising in preventing dance injuries, offering lectures, workshops and therapy treatments – I recently done a review of the services about strengthing & conditioning. You can check out my review here.
  • One Dance UK – UK’s directory of a wide range of medical specialists and therapist. Providing quality advice, conferences, workshops such as ‘Healthier Dancer Programme.

In my previous blog I talked about REBuilding confidence due to a major injury and/or surgery. Head over to REBuilding confidence if you haven’t already to learn more.

If you like my blogs and would like to learn more, stay posted every Wednesday #uniqueblogs on dance injuries. Next I will talk about the therapy services and treatments available for dancers.

Your comments are most welcome. I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Unique Tay

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