Performing arts injuries are often underestimated or dismissed, but there are many common injuries that range in severity. The term “performing arts” includes activities such as dance, gymnastics, figure skating, colorguard, marching band, and circus arts. This week we are exploring the most common performing arts injuries. Read on to learn what those injuries are, as well as ways to treat them.

Disclaimer

The suggested treatments listed below are simply best practices or potential options your doctor may prescribe you. If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, see a medical professional for an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

Sprains

Sprains and strains are extremely common in nearly every performing arts activity. Ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain. Medical professionals describe sprains in degrees, which increase depending on severity. Fortunately, sprains are simple to treat, as long as you remember PRICES.

  • Protect the sprain through compression wraps or braces.
  • Rest the injured area.
  • ICe the injured area for fifteen minutes at a time every hour.
  • Elevate the sprain.
  • Seek medical attention.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks or spots of bruising in a bone that occur from repeated overuse. These small injuries carry a big impact. The easiest way to determine if a regular ache has evolved into a stress fracture is if you can pinpoint exactly where the pain is coming from. Generally, a widespread ache is typical muscle fatigue, while a stress fracture radiates pain from a specific point. Stress fractures are most common in the feet, on the shin, and around the hip joint.

Typically, physicians will prescribe rest for as a treatment for stress fractures. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may eve be asked to wear a soft cast or compression wrap. Those tools help the fracture heal faster because they immobilize the bones.

Lower Back Strain

Lower back strain is a vague category because there are so many different injuries that may occur in this region. Female performers in particular experience high levels of lower back strain. The two most common sources of pain are overworking the spinal muscles and injury to the joints in the spine. Additionally, lower back muscles tend to spasm as a protective measure when there is an injury. Back muscles spasms range from a slight twinge to debilitating pain.

Usually the treatment for these injuries are triple-pronged. First and foremost, on the agenda is rest. Resting the back prevents further injuries and gives the muscles time and space to heal. While resting, use cold packs or ice and take some anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen. The cold and the medicine work together to reduce the swelling that oftentimes leads to the spasms.

In extreme cases, people experiencing lower back strain may need to wear a back brace or attend physical therapy. If your doctor prescribes these measures, it is in order to preserve your full range of motion in your back.