Dancers require a unique understanding of what they do and how their body moves.
Pointe is a new step into a very individualised movement concept. The need for strength and control without building muscle bulk is a very unusual requirement of an athlete, and therefore requires particular knowledge. With a long history of gymnastics and aerials, Pia has experience in this unique body requirement.
It is hard to tell a young dancer that she is not yet ready for pointe shoes. Students (and parents) must realize that teachers and physiotherapists are firm due to the risk of serious injury in introducing pointe work too soon. Most dancers are ready to begin pointe work between the ages of ten and twelve.
Starting pointe work is not just a question of age or physical maturity; readiness depends on strength, technique, attitude, and commitment. The bones of the foot are not fully developed until sometime in the late teens or early twenties. There is rarely any harm in waiting. A dancer who starts pointe work a year later than her classmates almost always catches up.
If a young dancer attempts pointe work without proper strength and technique, the significant forces created by the combination of body weight and momentum can permanently damage those not-fully-developed bones. Yet if a dancer is truly ready, if the introduction to pointe work is gradual and supervised by a knowledgeable/ experienced person, the risk of injury is minimal even if the bones are not fully formed.
This is why pre-pointe assessments can be so useful, they allow for student, parent, teacher and physiotherapist all to see what the student is currently capable of, and shine light on any areas of weakness or imbalance. This helps that student reach her dancing goals with the best help possible and decreasing the chance of injury through her dance journey.
80% of dancers experience a disabling injury during their career, however 98% of dance injuries are treated non-operatively making a physiotherapist an important friend to any dancer.
Due to the melding of art and sport within dance, the management of a dancer’s injury has to be as flexible and variable as this melding creates. Pia at Aspire Physiotherapy Bunbury understands these demands, and is keen to help dancers back onto the stage with individualised management strategies for your dancing injury.
Whether you have noticed an area that you would like to work on, or your teacher has noticed you require some specific advice, why not try some specific conditioning? This could help to keep you on track, supplement your dance classes, return from injury, or just make you a stronger dancer.