With the holiday season upon us, Christmas shows and specials are front and center. The famous Radio City Rockettes are a staple in NYC and spread holiday cheer to all those near and far. These dancers undergo a great deal of physical hardship to pull off such a tremendous performance.
The Rockettes are famous for their kick line and make it look effortless, so how does something that looks so easy to take such a toll on someone’s body?
Why Are Dancers Susceptible to Injuries?
Dance is a noble art that is graceful and timeless and takes a great deal of skill, agility, and flexibility. While training, these dancers perform repetitive motions for several hours a day which leads to an increased risk of injury.
The Rockettes during the Christmas Spectacular often perform up to four shows a day, which can take a huge toll on their body. Although these dancers are trained professionals, this does not exclude them from potential injuries, and overuse of the body puts these dancers at a higher risk.
A dancer is a tough competitor as they train year-round with minimal breaks in between. Rest is essential for any athlete, including dancers; however, most dancers do not have much relief in between shows and other performances. Dancers are subjected to many injuries, but some of the most common are:
A dancer is someone who requires immense flexibility, and to gain that skill; the joints must have a full range of motion, which can cause certain joints to become more vulnerable. The hip can become vulnerable to impingement as splits and turnouts are common practices by dancers. The cartilage between joints may begin to tear, which can cause a dancer a great deal of pain.
Spondylolisthesis of the Lower Back
With any athlete, stress fractures can occur. A dancer is at a higher risk for stress fractures as they tend to overuse due to long rehearsals and high demands on performance. Aside from the physical demands, dancers are also at a higher risk as they may not meet their nutritional needs as they should. With dancers performing on hardwood floors and concrete, the spine is subjected to a great deal of stress. A stress fracture to the spine called spondylolysis can occur as a result of hyperextension of the lower back.
Hamstring Injuries affecting the Knee/Meniscus
Regardless of the style of dance, hamstring injuries are prevalent. Injury to the hamstring muscle can result in pain from the thigh up high in the buttock down to below the knee. Dancers such as the Rockettes who perform kick line routines put added stress onto the hamstring muscles, increasing the risk of injury. When the leg extends as it does in a kick line, the muscles contract in a way, leaving dancers vulnerable to injury.
The hamstring muscles are vulnerable during that quick transition from full passive stretch to strong, active contraction, particularly if a dynamic warm-up or cool down after the previous rehearsal or performance was not done properly.
Dancers are tough athletes who push through on even their toughest days, however, when an injury begins to limit one’s ability, seeking care from an orthopedic specialist can improve chances of recovery when treated promptly. If you are a dancer who has endured an injury due to the rigors and repetitive motions and movements, contact our Atlanta orthopedic doctors for a comprehensive exam. Dial (404) 855-2141 to schedule an exam today!