Young dancer practicing in a dance studio

Mar 09, 2017 / Sports Medicine

From One Dancer to Another

Being a former dancer, Amanda Fletcher, R.N., C.P.N.P., R.N.F.A., Scottish Rite Hospital nurse practitioner on our pediatric sports medicine team, has some great lessons for young dancers. Read her recommendations and tips for being a healthy dancer below:

  • Balanced nutrition, including protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, such as avocados, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil and walnuts, are key for energy and optimum performance.
  • Proper warm-up and effective stretching are very important. Do not bounce and do not force positions. For instance, do not force your turnout or use the momentum of your body to force the splits as this can cause stress on your joints and muscles, which can lead to injuries.
  • Proper body alignment and form are important, even when you’re feeling tired.
  • Cross-training or a fitness program outside of dance can help develop core and hip stability, as well as strength and flexibility in major muscle groups like the hamstrings.
  • Parents and the dancer should focus on positive conversation and healthy approaches to training schedule, rest, body image and nutrition.
  • Dancing through pain can lead to more complex problems. It’s important to see a specialist for an evaluation if it does not resolve with rest or if the pain persists.
  • Positive social support is important for the disciplined, high-level athlete.

Though Fletcher isn’t dancing now, as a certified nurse practitioner, she brings a valuable set of skills and experience to help our team care for the whole child. Offering a comprehensive approach to care, nurse practitioners emphasize the well-being of the whole person with patient-centered care and prevention. Fletcher says, “I see many dancers that have injuries that could have been prevented. I can relate to them and talk about long days in the studio and how applying these lessons can reduce their risk of new and repeat injuries.”

Learn more about injury prevention and pediatric sports medicine.

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