Ballroom Dance > Knee pain.. how to avoid it

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by debmc, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    Knee pain......Ah...I'm a veteran of that....both arthritic in nature, and tendon strain. It curtailed my dancing off and on for a year, and forced me to switch from standard to latin, just so I could stay on the dance floor.

    The short version of all this is that western medicine not only did NOTHING for me, but it actually made things worse with a misdiagnosis and cortisone injction which led to even more damage to my patella tendon.

    The keys are warm and stretched muscles (in that order)....sufficient support of the knee joint (either internally or externally) and a correct diganosis of the actual problem, so you know where to direct any necessary therapies.

    I have discovered a wonderful brace which, for me, has stabalized my patellar tendon, and prevented me from re-straining it when I'm dancing. I only wear it when dancing, and do other things during my week to keep my quads, knees, calves, hamstrings and glutes exercised and strong. It has given me back my dearest love....standard.

    As for the use of ice......unless there is significant swelling in the area of your discomfort, such as arthritic fluid buildup, or an accute injury, ice is not recommended. Applying ice only shuts down circulation to the area. Fine if you have swelling to reduce, but otherwise....not so much. After a particularly strenuous lesson, I alternate heat and ice on my knees with a 3 to 1 ratio.....example: 3 minutes of heat to 1 minute of ice. This actually encourages blood flow to the area, and is great for tendon and ligament health.
  2. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Three common and often-overlooked causes of knee pain in dance:

    • Not knowing how to walk properly
    • Lack of warm-up/cool-down
    • Forgetting (or not knowing when to) release the heel of the supporting foot when transitioning weight to the travelling foot.
    The first, which pertains more to Modern than Latin, deals with very specific technique (which I remember posting in detail many moons ago, here on DF).

    The third is commonly notable in Nat/Rev turns (eg lady's 1 to 2), voltas (from cross to side step), and side step transitions with rise (notably bolero, but sometimes in Rumba).

  3. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I get injected with a similar version of these drugs which are generically called hyaluronic acid. It consists of 5 injections over 5 weeks. It's quite amazing how much these injections reduce arthritic pain.

    Now for the downside: These injections are very expensive. You will pay between $300 to $550 per injection. Because they are so pricey many insurance companies will not pay for them.

    The other downside is that the treatments usually only last about 6 months, although some people go for longer periods.
  4. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    Actually, my insurance does pay for them, but you have to wait 6 months between each series of shots if they don't last as long as mine have.
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    You could always find a vet and see if they'll sell you Adequan or Legend off-label...same stuff, cheaper by the human-size does (same debate between people who swear by it and people who say it's a placebo.)

    *Note: I'M KIDDING. I DO NOT SERIOUSLY SUGGEST YOU TRY TO GET VETERINARY HYALURONIC ACID. (I'm not saying I haven't heard of people doing it.)
  6. babyanika7777

    babyanika7777 New Member

    The knee support is that the biggest joint within the flesh. It works sort of a hinge however it it handles difficult tasks. The knees square measure subjected to the maximum amount as 3 times your weight after you walk and a number of other times a lot of once rising the steps. thus imagine however troublesome one will perform after you have knee pain. physiotherapy can facilitate decrease knee pain, recover its perform, and regain its strength. Most of those are going to be achieved through a series of exercises together with alternative physiotherapy treatment modalities.
  7. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Dancers don't pay enough attention to the type of floor they dance on. Bottom line: make sure that most of your dancing is on a floating wood floor. The floor must have flex and must allow for proper sliding.

    As tempting as it may be to dance at clubs, be sure not to spend much time dancing on floors that are made of cement, tile, or any other type of surface that will cause above average impacts. Many clubs use fake wood that is glued to cement, which is just as bad as bare concrete. The impact your knees get from long exposure to these types of surfaces will add up, and your knees can suffer short term pain and even permanent damage!

    Ask the owner of the studios or the clubs if their floor is floating. If they don't know what that means then you can bet they aren't.
    fascination and raindance like this.
  8. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    One GREAT exercise is to forward lunge (on each knee separately), and hold it for as long as you can. (Stretch your knees first before you try this.)
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    right...but only if the knee does not pass the toe, or at least the body weight must be well behind it...otherwise, you will destroy your that one is risky for people who don't get their alignment right
  10. dncergrl

    dncergrl Active Member

    One thing I can add, is that my knee pain is reduced since wearing podiatrist- constructed orthotics about 80% of the time. They are the ones that are made from having a foot cast. I have a friend who has thin, flexible orthotics suitable for dance shoes, but I have not been able to source them. I also use the stationary bike and do eccentric drops with increasing weights.
  11. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    It is really important to work on developing your basics to the extent that you can dance them in balance. In my personal experience I found that many injuries went away as I improved my technique, and posture too. It is easy to get into a pattern in your dancing where you are falling and catching yourself a lot, or turning when you are not over the foot, and these things can add up to a repetitive type injury over time.
    fascination and ACtenDance like this.
  12. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I'll second what Generalist said about floors, and add this: The floor needs to be free of tripping and slipping hazards. The one time that I had a knee injury that kept me off of the dance floor for any length of time, it was because I slipped on a spot where someone had spilled something and didn't clean it up.
  13. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Sometimes floors have wood planks that are uneven in height. The edge of my shoes have grabbed between the wood and have caused big stress to all my joints. Unfortunately this is a problem that can't usually be seen until the shoe grabs. I avoid these floors or learn where on the floor the wood is more even.
  14. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Hotel-ballroom portable floors are notorious for that. Either the panels aren't the same height, or gaps open up. The latter is especially hazardous to follows in heels. Also, you never know what kind of finish one of these floors is going to have, and it's not uncommon to see a floor made from panels of different kinds where the finish isn't consistent from one panel to the next.
  15. WildE

    WildE Member

    Osteoarthritis & bone-on-bone of one knee here from many sports athlete injuries w/four knee surgeries b4 age 23 resulting in limited range of motion, constant inflamation plus tore 1/2 other ACL last year. No kneeboarding so wakeboarding & kite surfing is my new interest besides dancing. Wake surfing was boring;) Still motocross jump/track on ocassion:)

    Gel injections have saved me from replacement so far and I utilize an $3k custom, off-loader brace for high impact activities and extended walking. Stretching all muscles of the body pre/post activity as interconnected, anti-inflamatory usage , strength training, proper arch support in/out of dance shoes is critical. Switching shoes and shoe heel heights helps. Heat/ice as necessary. Chiropractic advised for hurt area and full body alignment. NSAIDS and non-steriodial anti-inflammatories are a must with pain/injury and esp with osteoarthritis. See an orthopedic asap if decent or recurring pain on or off the dancefloor as corrective physical therapy can be an easy, quick repair and relief and get you back on the dancefloor in limited capacity building back to full capacity faster. Guesswork, limiting activity or overresting and esp delaying ortho appointments with any joint pain...not advised;) Let the experts analyze!

    As new to dance I am trying to ascertain which Latin dances I should be wary of for my knee. Advice or list dances in order of knee stress level requested!!!
    cornutt likes this.
  16. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Just my experience, but the tendinitis in my knees was aggravated much less by any of the latin dances than it was by smooth or standard. Bolero was somewhat challenging because of the rise/fall and knee bends (same problem I had with smooth), but everything else was fine as long as I warmed up properly, stretched, and maybe took a couple of ibuprofen.
    stash, fascination and RiseNFall like this.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    same here
  18. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Learn/train to keep the knees/thighs "together" and develop better instincts
    on leaning (the entire body) at the right times, as well as when movement
    should be coming from top or bottom (or whatever in between). Work on
    understanding your own body, rather than expecting someone else to
    direct you (since he/she can't possibly know your strengths/limitations as
    well as yourself). Do cross-training where similar motions are involved.

    The process of developing better movement is oftentimes very "weird" as
    body tissues/nerves/etc. have to "reconnect" in strange ways. More
    importantly, the brain gets reworked as one adapts to controlling the body
    in all sorts of odd motions/positions. There may be some discomfort (or
    even minor/controlled "injury") in the effort, but there should never be major
    tears and cracks.

    And avoid instruction/instructors that/who only expect "more" (bending lower,
    overstretching, etc.) for no particular reason. Far too many instructions/instructors
    use the brute-force approach.
  19. WildE

    WildE Member

    Guess depending on what knee ailments one has determines with dances or moves irritates their specific condition as my tendons dont hurt...bone on bone section gets sore with all thos repetitive tiny steps. Need to analyze each dance and figure out what things I can and cannot do and if certsin dances should be avoided in entirety when social dancing. Not like a custom routine or I have a set partner where we can work around it.
  20. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I found that as my technique improved, I had less problems in my knees and back. Having a good posture and good form isn't just for looks, but also feels better too! In latin, having the toes pointing in the right direction can help prevent pressure on the knees in the wrong way. In ballroom, when the knee bends it should be accompanied by movement across the floor. But I understand sometimes you just have to avoid some activities. So far, I have been lucky in that I have never had a serious injury that prevented me from doing anything.
    stash likes this.

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