What is an overuse injury?

Dancers beware!!

An overuse injury occurs gradually over time when athletic activity is repeated so often, areas of the body do not have enough time to heal between activity periods.

Young athlete/dancers are more at risk because they are still growing and these injuries could result in impaired growth and long term health problems.

Most common overuse injuries involve the knee or the foot.

These injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and growth plates.

Symptoms can include pain that increases with activity, swelling, changes in technique and decreased interest in practice.

Problems caused by extreme dieting and exercise

Dance/exercise/sports are healthy activities for young people, however female athletes/dancers can focus on being too thin and may eat too little and exercise too much.

There are 3 related illnesses that can develop when young girls go to extremes:

-Disordered eating: abnormal eating habits (fad/crash diets, binging, not eating)

-Mentstrual dysfunction: Poor nutrition, low calorie intake, high-energy demands, physical/emotional stress, or low percentage of body fat can lead to hormonal changes that stop menstrual periods.

-Premature osteoporosis: Lack of menstrual periods disrupts the body's bone building processes and weakens the skeleton, making bones more likely to break.

Treatment often requires help from a team of medical professionals including doctors, athletic trainer/dance teacher, nutritionist and counselor.

Common Injuries in dancers

Shin splints: an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the tibia

Stress fractures: an overuse injury that occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock, eventually the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone, causing a tiny crack in the bone

Snapping hip syndrome: a condition where you feel a snapping sensation or hear a popping sound in the hip, it occurs when a muscle or tendon moves over a bony protrusion in your hip

Tendonitis: an overuse injury that causes inflammation of a tendon and can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects a bone to muscle