Dancers clinic: Helping dancers perform their best

UW Health Sports Rehabilitation offers the UW Health Dancers Clinic to care for injured and healthy dancers.
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Overview

Dancers and sports medicine

The repetitive movements performed by dancers - releves, plies, developpes, sautés - require a unique blend of flexibility with stability, strength and endurance.

Most common dance injuries occur at the foot, ankle, lower leg, hip and back and are caused by:

  • Type and frequency of dance

  • Poor body alignment

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Overtraining

  • Type of footwear and floor surface

  • Past history of injury which can make them more vulnerable for reoccurrence

Dancer injury evaluation and treatment

  • Dance-specific musculoskeletal evaluation performed by a physical therapist or athletic trainer

  • Biomechanical assessment of dance technique, neuromuscular control, strength, flexibility and balance 

  • Use of Dartfish video analysis, as needed

  • Treatment: Therapeutic exercises, manual interventions and home program instruction

  • Recommendations for Pointe readiness or Pointe preparation

Our staff believes in a team approach to the dancer's overall health. Since recommendations may include modification of the current dance repertoire, we prefer to involve parents (if applicable, based on dancer age) and current dance instructors in the decision-making process to facilitate this team approach.

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About the programs

Athletic performance and conditioning for dancers

This UW Health Sports Rehabilitation program is geared towards healthy dancers of all levels and dance backgrounds. It is not a program designed to teach dance techniques as you would learn them in a studio. We will be focusing on the elements of strength, stability and control that dancers need to improve technical skills. You will learn how to move as an athlete and become a stronger dancer who can move with correct muscle activation to help prevent injuries.

  • Lumbo-pelvic alignment and postural awareness with basic dance positions

  • Core strength awareness and strength building based on the Pilate's method

  • Movement (neuromuscular) control

  • Strength and stability training

  • Injury prevention

  • Awareness and correction of muscle imbalances

Visit 1 (60 minutes)

  • Physical screen

  • Movement analysis

  • Strength and Stability training introduction

Visit 2 (30 minutes)

  • Review findings

  • Introduce individual exercise plan

At the end of the 90 minutes, dancers receive a customized strength and stability training program to work on independently.

The cost of the program is $225. Additional visits can be scheduled with your clinician at a rate of $150 for 60 minutes.

Pointe readiness preparation and assessment

The UW Health Sports Medicine Pointe Readiness Preparation and Assessment program prepares the younger dancer to go on Pointe or assesses a dancer's readiness to go on Pointe once they reach the appropriate age.

Elements that factor into the assessment include the dancer's age, physical capabilities and the number of years they have been in ballet. This assessment is available to both healthy and injured dancers.

  • A 60-minute appointment that includes video analysis, brief musculoskeletal screen, physical exam and professional recommendations related to Pointe readiness to help reduce and prevent injuries

  • For healthy dancers, the physical examination consists of screening strength and flexibility

  • For injured dancers, the physical examination will include special orthopedic tests to assess the integrity and recovery of the injured tissues

  • Biomechanical assessment comprised of eight tests that challenge neuromuscular control, strength, flexibility and balance

  • Follow-up discussion to improve understanding of readiness using the Pointe Readiness Scoring Continuum

  • Recommendation of exercises and suggestions for improvement based on any physical limitations.

  • Consultations with injured dancers will be billed to insurance as physical therapy or athletic training. Please contact your insurance company to verify your coverage. 

  • The 60-minute sessions for healthy dancers cost $150.

Meet our team

Sports rehabilitation experts by your side

Location

  • Research Park Clinic - Sports Rehabilitation
    • 621 Science Dr. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-4765
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  • UW Health at The American Center - Sports Rehabilitation
    • 4602 Eastpark Blvd. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 440-6444
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