The Overused Dancer’s Knee

In recent years, dancers of all ages have been learning more about the problems that so often lead to injury in order to avoid the consequences that come from ignoring the danger. Runners and dancers, in particular, go through what are called ‘repeated weight-bearing impacts’ that place increased pressure between the femur bone and the patella. When that area of the body gets damaged, doctors refer to this as an ‘overuse injury’. Even those who sit down for prolonged periods after the problem has developed are in danger of exacerbating the situation.

Perhaps the most common type of athlete to endure the overuse injury is a ballet dancer. [And yes, they most certainly deserve the title of athlete, however artistic their athleticism may be.] In ballet, dancers try to succeed in demonstrating their art through an ‘improper alignment of the knees’, meaning that they point their knees inward, such as with plies and sautes, placing undue stress on the knee joint and tendon and leading to an incredible amount of pain for the dancer.

Now, for the sake of argument, dancers and runners do like to push themselves to a point where they can achieve movements and feats that others have been unable to accomplish. Hence their tendency to overuse those joints and tendons moreso than the rest of us. But in their efforts to amaze their audiences and fans, successful athletes consistently serve themselves well by giving themselves adequate rest, sufficient water, and a healthier than average diet. Our bodies can always be pushed, but they will never stop being human.

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