This Month in Sports Rehabilitation: Preventing and Treating Dancers' Injuries (May 2012)

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UW Health Sports Medicine Dancers Clinic: Dancer and instructorDance-related injuries and injury prevention are recent points of emphasis in the field of Sports Medicine.


Dancers and Injuries


A recent literature review pertaining to dance injuries cited the most common as soft-tissue injuries like sprains, strains and tendinopathies (injuries to the muscles and tendons). Most of these are overuse injuries and chronic in nature, affecting the lower extremities and back.


The prevalence of injury and pain in dancers is high. University and pre-professional dancers have a 26-51 percent chance of injury in their lifetimes. Why so high? Causes may include movement demands, technique flaws and training oversight. For example, one study reported an increased risk of low-back pain and lower-extremity injuries due to forcing turn out.


Our Dancers Clinic


UW Health Sports Rehabilitation is committed to providing dancers with rehabilitation and performance programs that focuses on dancer-specific strength and mobility issues, potential technique flaws and training oversights. Our Dancers Clinic clinicians include:

  • Laura Moyer, an athletic trainer who has studied Pilates mat rehabilitation and its application for dancers
  • Jan Mussallem, a physical therapist with a background in gymnastics 
  • Jodi Zupancich, a physical therapist assistant with 30 years of dance experience in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, pointe and hip-hop dance. Jodi's diverse background allows her to understand the requirements of all types of dancers, and she is also a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.

Services for injured dancers may be covered by insurance. We also offer a Pointe readiness preparation and assessment program available to healthy dancers who want to determine their risk for injury prior to begin dancing on Pointe. The service for healthy dancers is a $250, 60-minute evaluation that is not billable to insurance. 


Video: UW Health Sports Rehabilitation Dancers Clinic





Hincapie C, Morton E, Cassidy D. Musculoskeletal Injuries and Pain in Dancers: A Systematic Review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008;89:1819-1829.