The knee is one of the most vulnerable joints in the body,
and this is only amplified by intense athletic use such as basketball and of
course dance. Research shows that 49% of ballet dancers will suffer from a disorder
of the patella at some point (http://www.nureyev-medical.org/articles/injury-statistics).The most common dance injury of the knee
is called patellar tendinitis or jumpers knee, which is an over use injury of
the patellar tendon. Jumpers knee can be felt just below the knee cap mainly
when jumping (jetes), bending (plies), or walking up stairs. Tendinitis is simply the inflammation of a tendon and rarely results in serious or acute injury but can be very uncomfortable and should be treated none-the-less!
Some treatments for inflammation include ice and rest, but
to avoid issues of patellar tendinitis in your long term future here are a few
- Strengthening your quadriceps. As dancers, our quads
are usually the largest muscle on our body and we take for granted its
- Going through your feet when jumping and
landing. We often hear our teachers telling us to use our feet and part of the
reason is that landing rigidly on hard surfaces will cause inflammation of
joints and tendons!
- Tracking of the knee. Make sure you are tracking your knee properly in line with your lower leg. This will help avoid any lateral damage to your knees.
We will all deal with injuries at one point or another, but always remember, prevention is the best treatment! So keep up those plies, work out your toes and trust your teachers (they are not making this stuff up)!