The beauty and grace that dazzles audiences watching a dance performance is a result of the extreme demands that dancers place on their bodies. While injuries like sprains and strains are common, increased strength, flexibility and endurance required to excel can invite more serious injuries like fractures, torn ligaments and herniated discs. Our orthopedic surgeons and specialists, athletic trainers, and physical and occupational therapists at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will work as a team to diagnose and treat any dance-related injury you may experience at a convenient location near you.

Common Dance Injuries
Most dancers start at an early age, as young as five or six, with the risk to a dancer’s growing body increasing when they are in their teens. Repetitive motions are often the cause of dance-related injuries, but falls, improper technique and bad alignment can also be the cause of injury. We recommend you consult with one of our world-class Houston Methodist sports injury specialists if you are experiencing any of the following injuries .

  • Shoulder:
    • Rotator cuff tendonitis or tear
    • Shoulder dislocation
    • Acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain (joint at the top of the shoulder)
    • Tendonitis (inflammation, irritation and swelling of a tendon)
  • Elbow:
    • Medial epicondylitis (inflammation on the inner side of the elbow, also known as "little leaguer's elbow”)
    • Lateral epicondylitis (inflammation on the outside of the elbow, also known as “tennis elbow”)
    • Medial elbow ligament tears
  • Hand or wrist:
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome (causing numbness or weakened grip from repetitive motions)
    • Thoracic outlet syndrome (causing numbness or weakness in arm or hand)
    • Wrist dislocation
    • Finger fractures
    • Bursitis (swelling and irritation of the fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between muscles, tendons and joints)
    • Wrist sprains
    • Wrist tendonitis
    • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendons on the thumb side of the wrist)
  • Hip, knee or leg:
    • Trochanteric bursitis (pain along the outer part of the hip)
    • Snapping hip
    • Iliacus tendinitis (pain in the front of the hip)
    • Piriformis syndrome (pain in lower back and buttock)
    • Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome (inflammation of the tendon that runs along the outside of the upper thigh)
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Knee sprains and hyperextensions
    • Ligament sprains and tears
    • Patellar tendonitis and malalignment
    • Torn meniscus
    • Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL)
    • Shin splints (lower leg pain), stress reactions and stress fractures
  • Foot or ankle:
    • Achilles tendonitis
    • Ankle sprains
    • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain due to inflammation of the thick ligament of the base of the foot)
    • Dancer's fracture (landing from a jump on an inverted [turned-in] foot)
    • Bunions and toe pain
    • Metarsalgia (pain along the ball of the foot)
    • Anterior impingement syndrome (pain at the front of the ankle joint)
    • Posterior impingement syndrome (known as dancer’s heel)
    • Anterior impingement syndrome (chronic ankle pain)
  • Spine:
    • Lower-back sprain
    • Herniated disc
    • Conditions due to repeated arching of the back

Dance Safety and Injury Prevention Tips
Proper training will help dancers avoid injuries, but if you experience pain or swelling, we recommend that you seek treatment with a sports injury specialist sooner than later so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

  • Conditioning and strengthening are crucial for dancers at all ages and levels.
  • Warm up and stretch before every class, rehearsal or performance, paying special attention to the back, abdominal, knee, hip, shoulder and leg muscles.
  • Avoid dancing on hard or uneven surfaces.
  • Following the proper technique and the correct positions are extremely important in avoiding extra stress on your body.
  • Anyone experiencing chronic pain should avoid masking it by taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and should seek treatment.
  • Avoid overly repetitive motions, switch up practice routines and allow your body time to rest between practices.
  • Young dancers experiencing growth spurts are especially susceptible to injury as their bodies are at greater risk for bone and stress fractures.
  • Be prepared for emergencies with a first-aid kit, a supply of ice and the phone number of your physician or the nearest medical facility.

Trust our team of sports injury specialists at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to assess your injury, recommend the right course of treatment and provide you with the knowledge to help prevent future injuries and get you back on the dance floor.