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

The UW Health Sports Rehabilitation team understands the unique physical demands of dance. For dancers who are experiencing pain or injury, our program offers an evaluation and treatment plan to help them return to their activity.

  • 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

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.

Watch to learn more about the dancers clinic

Additional programs

Additional programs to help you improve your skills

UW Health Sports Performance offers programs for healthy dancers who are interested in improving their technical skills. These programs are not covered by insurance and participants will be billed prior to their session.

Athletic performance and conditioning for dancers

This Sports Performance 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 $199 for 60 minutes.

Pointe readiness preparation and assessment

This Sports Performance 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