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Injury prevention in dancers

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I came across this presentation by Professor Mathew Wyon (who is consultant for BRB and ENB) and thought it worth posting. His work is revolutionary and will hopefully lead to a change of thinking amongst vocational schools and ballet companies in the future.

 

It's £4.00 to stream I'm afraid, but hugely insightful for anyone with a DC.

 

https://vuier.com/v/afap-2016-prof-matthew-wyon-26-mins

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There are lots of excellent articles that can read on the website of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (www.iadms.org)  on the resources pages. These are free and give lots of helpful information to students and parents. They can be downloaded; all free. 

 

This type of work has been going on in the UK for many years at the elite and vocational level and it is thanks to Dance UK that our dance students also have access to the National Institute for Dance Medicine and Science. Dancers can get help with their injuries by being referred by their GP. 

 

 

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The interesting thing about Mathew Wyon's research is that it's heavily preventative rather than dealing with injuries when they arise. It also highlights the fact that preventative training could be vastly improved at vocational schools and within ballet companies.

 

At my Dd's vocational school there is no physiotherapy session unless pupils are injured. They do have a Pilates class which goes a little way towards addressing this hole in the curriculum, but no specific education in protecting their bodies against the rigours of training/rehearsing and performing.

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FYI this is the area in which I am attempting to work! Prof Wyon was my director of studies during my PhD years which began 10 years ago. With him I worked at BRB and ENB doing fitness tests etc and developing training regimes but the trouble still exists where Artistic Directors are reluctant to give up some class/rehearsal time to allow dancers to cross-train. You simply cannot add more training into an already-packed timetable otherwise the dancers will become overtrained/burnt out and more susceptible to injury or illness anyway. 

 

Interestingly this afternoon I am meeting an AD of one of the 'big 4' schools to discuss this exact topic..... :D

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Our dance school has benefited hugely from employing two ballet teachers this year who are also Pilates instructors, and one is also a physio. They (RAD vocational students) now have an extra half-hour of 'body conditioning/Pilates' before their Saturday open class. The physio asked DD about her troublesome knees (going back 2 years but with no actual injury), and we went to her for 3 months of physio. She was great as she understood ballet and could ask DD which steps/moves hurt and where, as well as checking her alignment on jump landings/transition steps. She gave DD exercises to strengthen her VMO/quads/glutes, as well as instructions for rolling out tight ITB and working on alignment. She is now on a maintenance programme at home and I can't believe what a difference it has made! Her dance teachers were very 'hands off' and when her knees were sore would just tell her not to do any jumping. I guess that's the difference a generation makes, as the teachers were in their fifties and these new ones are in their twenties/thirties.

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DD (10) is just starting physio because she hurt her knee doing a grande plie and I thought this could not be going anywhere good.  (Fwiw, we saw Dr Wolman (National centre for dance medicine) first and it's all about a lack of core strength as well as underlying laxity)  

It seemed bleedin' obvious to me that if you are prone to injury, you need to do lots of strength exercises to stabilise and align correctly to prevent injury in future.  But apparently they never see anyone till they are in their teens and the damage is done and while everyone has been too polite to tell me I am batshit crazy to do it this way round, there is a definite whiff of it in the air.  *sigh*.

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DD (10) is just starting physio because she hurt her knee doing a grande plie and I thought this could not be going anywhere good.  (Fwiw, we saw Dr Wolman (National centre for dance medicine) first and it's all about a lack of core strength as well as underlying laxity)  

 

It seemed bleedin' obvious to me that if you are prone to injury, you need to do lots of strength exercises to stabilise and align correctly to prevent injury in future.  But apparently they never see anyone till they are in their teens and the damage is done and while everyone has been too polite to tell me I am batshit crazy to do it this way round, there is a definite whiff of it in the air.  *sigh*.

 

Well you're doing the right thing! You'd be amazed by the number of people for whom this is NOT so obvious. Frustrating as it is, it happens.

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Well you're doing the right thing! You'd be amazed by the number of people for whom this is NOT so obvious. Frustrating as it is, it happens.

I have knee alignment/tracking problems caused by ballet as a child - didn't present till I started rowing at Uni and my quads tried to pull my kneecaps off.  Now everyone can hear me coming up stairs.  Seeing DD having problems earlier than me has put the wind right up me!  

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