How to treat some knee injuries from dance

Topic Title: How to treat some knee injuries from dance
Created On: 07/25/2011 12:16 PM

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 01/06/2014 01:59 PM

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According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, these are the knee injuries most common among dancers:

Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain
Knee Hyperextension
Patellar Malalignment
Patellar Femoral Syndrome
Patellar Tendonitis
Plica Syndrome
Meniscus Tear
Medial Collateral Ligament Tear
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear

It's amazing how fragile the knee joint can be, and yet it takes so much of the brunt of dance specifically.

Dancers need to be extra careful for their knees, and, like Eshirazi says, need to make sure to have the proper form. If not, they'll have knee problems by their late 20s, and they could cut their career short with serious injuries.

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 07/26/2011 11:53 AM

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This is a great summary. Dancing for 19 years has absolutley caused some wears and tewars. Not only for me, but for fellow dancers. Sometimes, to create that perfect turnout, dancers will push and push. Pushing from the knees can cause serious injury, as you are supposed to push from the hips. Many dancers who jump a lot and do not come down in a full plie can also injur knees. Dancing is a tricky sport and one must truly perfect technique in a safe way to ensure a longer dance career.
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 07/25/2011 12:16 PM

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The knee is vulnerable to injuries that range from mild to severe, including meniscal or cartilage tears. Apart from the usual wearing out of cartilage from loading the joint, Dr. Douglas Padgett, who practices at the Hip and Knee Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, believes that some of these knee problems may occur in dancers with limited hip rotation. Twisting your knees to improve turnout may place you at risk for meniscal damage.

Choreography that involves deep squats or sudden grand plies can also damage knee cartilage. "It's like pinching your finger in a door hinge," says Katy Keller, clinical director of physical therapy service at the Juilliard School. Johary Ramos, a former dancer in the Fosse national tour, remembers performing a somewhat brutal number where he had to jump from a ladder backstage onto a trampoline and land in a squatting position on the stage. In one performance, Ramos says, "I felt a weakness but didn't know anything was structurally wrong. I did nine more performances until my bad knee was so swollen that I couldn't walk."

At first, it may be difficult to tell if an injury is mild, moderate, or severe, especially if you're like most dancers, who rarely give in to pain. So, unless your physical evaluation indicates that you need surgery because your knee is locked, you follow the same procedure for ankle sprains: RICE and rehab, including hands-on therapy and exercises. You may also try other modalities like electric stimulation to speed up the healing process. If your knee continues to catch or cause swelling and pain, your doctor may order an MRI for a more accurate diagnosis. Dancers who require surgery usually have it performed with an arthroscope, which is an instrument about the size of a drinking straw that can remove bone fragments and trim the meniscus.
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