Physiotherapy For Dancers

Physiotherapy For Dancers

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Founded 1894

; 128 years ago




(as Society of Trained Masseuses)
Type Professional Organisation
Focus Physiotherapy
Area served
United Kingdom
59,390 (2019)







physiotherapy for dancers


Due to the repetitive nature of ballet, dancers can sustain injuries due to its unique repetition. We will be reviewing the effectiveness and safety of physiotherapy treatments for injuries suffered by ballet dancers.

PRISMA’s preferred reporting item for systematic reviews/meta-analyses was used to guide the review. Six databases were searched (PubMed and Ovid Embase; Medline, Google Scholar, Cochrane. PeDro. Google Scholar). Active ballet dancers (or those who attended ballet schools) were included in these study groups. There were no restrictions regarding age, sex, ethnicity or nationality. Modified McMaster Critical Evaluation Form for Quantitative Studies was used in order to determine the methodological excellence of studies reviewed in compliance with applicable guidelines.

Of the total 687 articles that were reviewed, 10 met our inclusion criteria. There were many physiotherapeutic methods that could be used. The effectiveness of each was evaluated with various measurements and parameterizations. All results indicated that physiotherapy interventions for ballet dancers have a positive influence on several indices such as pain, functional status, and ROM.

Due to the small amount of evidence confirming the effectiveness of physiotherapeutic interventions in ballet dancers after injuries and methodological uncertainties, it is recommended to improve the quality of prospective studies.


Ballet, high-performance dance that demands high technical skills, is [ ]. Particular demands are placed on flexibility and strength as well as on body aesthetics [ ]. Ballet dancers are susceptible to injury due to the repetitive nature of ballet dancing. This is often because they have to go beyond endurance limits. Understanding the causes of injury is challenging because of limitations to the methods used and certain characteristics of ballet dancers. According to these studies, the most frequent injury observed was that of acute nature. These injuries often occurred during practice or performance. At the same time, overload-related injuries were common, mostly affecting the lower limbs and the lower back (lumbosacral spine) [ ]. It has been found that ballet dancers may be at risk of low back pain or injury independent of gender, age or level of mastery [ ]. Intensity of training [?], insufficient control over lumbosacral complex movement, low oxygen endurance, and poor lower limb strength are all important risk factors. It is difficult to reach consensus about risk factors in relation to musculoskeletal injury among dancers due the low quality of research. Prospective studies of high quality that explore risk factors in dance injuries are needed. A lot of foot surgery is described in relation to injuries like metatarsal and ankle fractures. Also, [ ] has been written about the surgical vs. conservative treatment of fractures in dancers. Because of the dancers’ extreme mobility in terms of biomechanics, and their treatment for both muscle and joint pathology, hip joints have become a hot topic. In a systematic review, Weber et al. Nolton reported that dancers’ careers can be saved by using the correct surgical techniques. Snapping hip syndrome (SHS), which was reported by Nolton et al., should be treated early. There has been evidence that physiotherapy is effective in relieving pain and improving function. Although there are limited evidence bases, no systematic reviews have yet examined the effectiveness physiotherapy has in treating the musculoskeletal malfunctions of dancers. This study aims at assessing the efficacy of physiotherapeutic interventions for the treatment of injuries suffered by ballet dancers.

physiotherapy for dancers

Strategie for Search

PRISMA stated that preferred reporting items should be used for systematic reviews. The review is in accordance with PRISMA checklist S1 File. The population-intervention-comparator-outcome (PICO) format was used for the search strategy, where the search terms and limits were associated with ballet dancers (population of interest) and physiotherapy (intervention).

Two reviewers independently searched the databases to test the strategy. For consistency, search results were also compared. If the search results came up with different outcomes, both reviewers discussed them together and resolved any differences. Once search consistency was achieved, reviewers were able to begin formal queries of the database databases. Six electronic databases were searched between March 26, 2020 and March 28, 2020. Only articles in English were taken into account.


Background: Because ballet dancers often have to perform repetitive movements, they are more susceptible to injuries. Following is a systematic review of the efficacy of physiotherapy intervention in treating injuries to ballet dancers.

Methodology: This review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA’s statement regarding preferred reporting items for systematic reviews or meta-analyses. Six electronic databases (PubMed, Ovid Embase, Cochrane, Medline, PEDro, Google Scholar) were queried. These were ballet students and/or active dancers with injuries or persistent pain. Age, race, ethnicity and nationality were not restricted. Modified McMaster Critical review Form (for quantitative studies) was used for assessing the methodological quality and following the guidelines.

Results: Out of the total of 687 articles subjected to the review, 10 met the inclusion criteria. Different physiotherapeutic treatments were reviewed and their effectiveness assessed with different measurements and parameters. These results showed that the physiotherapy intervention in ballet dancers has a positive effect upon a variety of indicators, such as pain, ROM and functional state.

Conclusions: Due to the small amount of evidence confirming the effectiveness of physiotherapeutic interventions in ballet dancers after injuries and methodological uncertainties, it is recommended to improve the quality of prospective studies.

What is the point of a dance background physiotherapist working with dancers?

Dancers are very susceptible to injury. Some of these injuries can be prevented.

Dancers are likely to experience pain and injury in 95% of their dance careers. It is clear that neuromuscular strength training and strengthening can reduce injury, improve performance, or improve movement mechanics. In addition to this, there is evidence that strengthening can increase flexibility in a safe way.

The highly-skilled health care providers physiotherapists have the ability to evaluate and treat injuries. They also design and implement programs that aid in injury prevention and performance. You should include a professional physiotherapist in every dancer’s treatment team. But first and foremost, you have to find the right physiotherapist for you! They should be trustworthy, you must enjoy working with them, as well as being able to talk about your hopes, fears, and injuries.

A physiotherapist that is familiar with dance may also prove to be an advantage.

You are likely to find them up-to-date on the latest dance medicine science, and they will also know the current recommendations in the literature. That’s why we refer to it as “bringing science into the studio”. Being able to communicate in your own language with a physiotherapist will improve communication and help facilitate assessments and treatment sessions. When communicating instructions and returning to dance protocol, it is essential that you use correct terminology. It helps make sure nothing gets lost in translation. If you are able to describe your difficulties and goals, your therapist will be able to understand them. You can then work with each other and “get” it!

An understanding of all aspects and styles of dance is helpful in designing a plan. Because dance involves returning to movement after injuries, proper technique and knowledge of the basics will be crucial for physios in designing appropriate exercises. A thorough understanding of posture, alignment, turn out, along with cardiovascular requirements for dance, and strength, balance and psychological demands help round out rehabilitation plans and ensure the whole dancer is being looked after.

While physiotherapy assessment should focus on movement and structures, it is important to also observe patterns of movement and functional ability. To ensure that specific dance moves are correct and properly addressed, physiotherapists can perform a dance-specific assessment.

Joint hypermobility can be a common problem in dancers.4 It is important to have a good understanding of the condition and how to treat it. You must also know when it’s time to consult other healthcare providers to make sure that your dancer is taken good care of.

Have a question regarding physiotherapy and dance? Please do not hesitate to email us at There are many wonderful physiotherapists in our Expert Group that will help you find the right answers.

1. Smith, PJ, Gerrie, BJ, Varner, KE, Varner, KE, McCulloch, PC, Lintner, DM, Harris, JD. Incidence and Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Injury in Ballet: A Systematic Review. Orthopaedic Magazine of Sports medicine. 2015 Jul 1;3(7):2325967115592621.

physiotherapy for dancers

Sports Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy

Because of the many styles and types available, dancing has been an ever-popular hobby. Due to the many movements that are used in different styles of dancing there can be many injuries. Metro recognizes the importance of dancing as a form for socializing and exercising. Our combined knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as specific rehabilitation techniques for performance will ensure that you get back to your best. Numerous performers from the North-West have had their feet pressed by our therapists.

Common dancing injuries Dancing can lead to a variety of injuries and aches.

Lower limb injuries are very common in dancers and more often than not, can be managed with high quality physiotherapy. Due to the repetitive nature of dance techniques and routines, injuries from overuse are quite common. Overuse injuries can result in damage to the cartilage, impingement syndrome or tendonitis of the hip joint. Damage to the ligaments and tendons in the knee and ankle can also occur when forceful torsional stress is placed on them, as well as common conditions such as Achilles and patella tendonitis.

Because of excessive use of arms overhead and lifting/falling during dance, upper limb disorders such as shoulder impingement and acromioclavicular injuries may occur. Similarly, with most intense physical activity, back pain can be a troublesome issue related to weaknesses and over-use of certain structures. It is crucial to get the right treatment for these types of conditions.

Dance Physiotherapy

Dance Physiotherapy can be a very specialized profession. Here at APS we have been treating dancers for over 25 years and were the first clinic in Perth to provide dedicated physiotherapy care to the WA Ballet Company. We are still involved in the care of Co:3, WAAPA and private dance schools.

We have dancers of all ages, from young to old. Our dancers are able to perform in almost all styles, from swing to Irish to classical to modern.

The most important aspect of our understanding is that dancing is an integral part your life. Therefore, we’ll always try to get you moving, except when it’s dangerous!

APS boasts four Dance Physiotherapists. All of them are former dancers. When booking with us, please ask to speak with one of our dedicated dance physiotherapists!

APS Dance Physiotherapists is a group of ex-dancers, who combine their love for dance and professional physiotherapy. The following services are offered

Pre-pointe screening and pre-tertiary screening to prevent injuries. Anatomical advice and turn-out improvement.

Treating all injuries related to dance

Gaynor Minden pointe shoe fittings

Physiotherapy For Dancers


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