Injury occurrence is all too common among dancers. They will always push their bodies to the limit to execute the best performance possible. Therefore, it is crucial for them to have a safe environment to reduce any unnecessary injury risks. Whilst a dance floor is often the only support of dance movements, it can also be a contributing factor to dance injuries.
Dance Floors and Injury Risk
A dance floor is often the only support of dance movements. It can also play a significant role in the occurrence of dance-related injuries, even in experienced dancers.
A floor that has some deficiencies can be a cause of acute injuries and chronic problems. The mechanical properties of the floors used by dancers have often been seen to be associated with injury. Dance floors have the potential to cause lower limb injuries, especially ankle injuries.
As an example, dancers employed in touring companies are often required to rehearse and perform at different venues without too much consideration for the mechanical properties of the stage floor and the potential influences on injury risk. Dance floors that are hard, stiff, or unsprung can increase the risk of dance injuries.
How Flooring Can Cause Injuries
High impact, repetitive stress, overuse and bad landing from a fall often cause injuries among dancers. When it comes to floors, injuries most commonly affect the foot and ankle, knee, hip or lower back. Lower limb injuries among dancers are common because of constant pounding from performing.
In a study done by Hopper and colleagues, it was noted that dance floors have the capacity to contribute to, or prevent ankle injuries such as ankle tendinopathies and sprains. In the examination of ankle joint mechanics, 14 dancers performed drop landings on five different floors. They noted that floor landings that can absorb landing energy can potentially reduce ankle load joints, considering the large mechanical demand needed to stabilise the ankle joint during landings.
Flooring and Dance Technique
A hard, unforgiving floor may predispose you to increase stresses, therefore a dance floor must have important properties such as resiliency, shock absorption, and surface friction. But according to a Science and Medicine study, a dancer may also sustain an injury on a floor that has varying amounts of shock absorption.
It all comes down to flooring and dance technique. If you have poor flooring and a poor technique, you are at highest risk of injury. A combination of these two will put too much strain on particular muscles, ligaments and bones and lead to chronic pain and injuries such as stress fractures.
If the flooring is poor but the dance technique is good, you are at less risk of injuries, but you may still feel strain in your lower back, knees, and shins from absorbing the shock, and if the floor surface has less friction, you are at high risk of falls.
If the flooring is good but the technique is poorly performed, you can still get injuries from repetitive actions in dancing. There is still an injury risk even if you’re on the highest quality flooring.
If flooring and technique are both good, you are in the safest situation possible. To further minimise risk of injury, focus on a safe, good choreography and self management such as getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and proper hydration.
Why You May Need a Physiotherapist
Dancing with existing problems such as biomechanical dysfunction or muscle imbalances can increase the risk of injuries and can develop a serious problem that may cause you to discontinue dancing if not addressed properly. Our Perth physiotherapists are highly qualified in the management of musculoskeletal injuries including that of dance-related injuries.
If you have a dance injury or looking to prevent injuries from dancing, we can help. Call i Physio Perth at 9444 8729 today!