Remember last week’s post? Dr.Cohen’s knowledge of “overuse injuries” does not stop at what causes the condition; she has valuable insight on the treatment and prevention as well.
The Mystery is in the History
Careful history taking and examination helps the sports medicine physician diagnose the condition. It is helpful to know what maneuver produces the pain; or when the pain occurs. Many times with an overuse the injury the symptoms will first occur after the activity; then earlier and earlier into the activity until you become symptomatic at rest. It is important to seek medical attention long before that occurs. It is not normal to have pain with the activity. It is important to consult a physician regarding your symptoms, and to find the cause of the injury so that re-injury does not occur once the present injury is treated.
What are the treatment principles for Overuse Injuries?
Management of the condition depends on the severity. Relative rest, which is stopping the aggravating activity while maintaining cardiovascular activity with another activity is one aspect of the treatment program. For example, use of a stationary bicycle or elliptical, or swimming, which are nonimpact activities, might be an alternate activity for a runner while the injury is healing. One needs to individualize the modified activity for the patient and their injury. Other aspects of the treatment plan are pain management with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication as indicated if no contraindication; physical therapy to include instruction in stretching and strengthening exercises; use of an appropriate brace or support for the injured body part; correction of predisposing factors; and modification of biomechanics.
Are there some injury prevention guidelines?
We would all like to prevent an injury from occurring and to maximize our athletic endeavors. Some key points to remember to help get you there are: appropriate training and conditioning for the sport; check your biomechanics for the sport; allow for adequate recovery and do not engage in your sport when you are tired or in pain. Engage in a variety of sports and activities so that you are not always using the same muscles in the same way. Many elite level athletes complement their specialized sport training with another sport. For example, a cyclist might skate or play hockey in the off season to maintain muscle balance of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles of the thigh. It is best to be proactive and prevent the injury from happening.
Dr.Cohen will be discussing Stress Fractures and Biomechanical assessment in future blogs.
Most injuries in dancers, for both students and professionals, are not the result of a sudden or traumatic event but usually occur over a period of time, and are often preventable. With that in mind, on Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m., The Ballet School of Stamford and the ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education will team up to present a FREE injury prevention workshop for parents of dancers. Parenting a Healthy Dancer will feature a panel of experts who will discuss how to keep young dancers healthy in mind and body. The panel will include Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Gloria Cohen, Dance Physical Therapist Samara DiMattia MSPT and Psychotherapist Becca Gaines, MS PC.
Because dance training involves repetitive movements done in classes, rehearsals, and performances, a lot of stress is put on dancers’ ligaments and muscles. Over time, this repetitive activity can lead to a number of overuse injuries.
The program, which is hosted by The Ballet School of Stamford at 175 Atlantic Street, will highlight the importance of understanding the signs and symptoms of the most common dance injuries including tendinitis, snapping hip, foot stress injuries, sprained ankles, and low back pain. “The panel will discuss the physical and emotional challenges for the young dancer,” said Dr. Cohen. “We will talk about the importance of proper technique and of identifying any muscle imbalances in the young dancer that might lead to an injury. There will also be discussion on proper strengthening and stretching exercises that can prevent injuries, basic rehabilitation exercises for dancers recovering from an injury, and how to know when to see a professional about a condition.” The FREE workshop will be conducted in an open forum. The public is invited, however advance registration is requested. For information, or to register, please send an email to info@Balletschoolofstamford.org, or call 203-358-8853. For directions go to www.balletschoolofstamford.org.
The Ballet School of Stamford is a not-for-profit school that provides professional dance training for children and adults from Fairfield and Westchester counties. The school is entering its thirteenth year and has moved into its new home at Old Town Hall. Through its relationship with Stamford Center for the Arts, the Ballet School is able to provide unique performance opportunities for its students, with a varied repertoire of original productions and classical ballets.