Specialized Care for Dancers - Part 2
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
NICHOLAS T. GATES, MD
Dance is sport and art - and getting an injured dancer back to performing can be tricky. Here's why:
- Competitive pressure to "stay with the dance" translates into a hesitancy to seek help. Immediate access to care during practice and performance is rare except at professional levels.
- Dancers require freedom of motion. Traditional bracing techniques used to stabilize joints limit movement and may be prohibited in performance due to wardrobe constraints (particularly in ballet).
- Sports medicine is typically heavy on traditional sports. Dancers may be frustrated by practitioners who lack understanding of their needs.
Dance medicine is a specialized approach, Dr. Gates says. "I understand the terminology of dance," he explains, as well as its unique culture. He provides appropriate and creative measures to get dancers back on their feet. At times, more aggressive treatment, including arthroscopic surgery and rehabilitative physical therapy or partial bracing, may be considered rather than rest from activity.
Whatever the issue, dancers of all ages are welcome at Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers. "We are just as interested in dancers as we are in athletes," Dr. Gates says.
Dr. Gates is a board-certified foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist. He serves as team physician for Highlands High School and treats both athletets and nonathletes.
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