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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Best type of doctor for young dancers


dancingdivasmom

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My DD is 10 years old and has been dancing for 3 years. Recently, she started complaining about aches and pains. Her back, the front of her ankles and top of her feet, and knees in particular. She severely over pronates and has been given orthotics, but refuses to wear them because "they hurt." She also has very tight hamstrings, especially behind her knees (in fact, she has to gently push them down in stretches and even then her leg looks a little bent) and is generally inflexible. I am trying to figure out the best way to keep her injury free, and improve her flexibility. I am wondering if the over pronation is causing the pain due to muscle imbalance or just everything being out of alignment.

 

She is seeing a sports medicine doc today, but I am not sure if that is the correct choice. Does anyone else have experience with these types of problems? She's at the point where she is starting to learn more difficult skills and needs the flexibility and strength in order to execute them. I have her stretching and doing some strengthening exercises, but am not sure if I am having her do the right ones.

 

I know there are chiropractors and physical therapists as well. I guess I am just trying to decide what type of provider we would have the best luck with and would understand dancer bodies, if you know what I mean. We saw a podiatrist (who actually handles all of the players on the Utah Jazz) but, besides the custom orthotics, there really wasn't much that he said he could do.

 

Any input would be great!

 

Thanks!

 

Jen

Edited by dancingdivasmom
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I think that the orthopedic doctor is the place to start, and then hopefully this doctor will recommend and prescribe PT. I would also ask about having her study Pilates, and then find a Pilates instructor who knows ballet. There are a lot of former professional dancers who are now certified and teaching Pilates.

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There is a learning curve to the foot orthotics. My daughter wears them. It takes the body and brain a good two weeks to get used to them. Tell her she must wear them. And, I am saying this as a mother. If she severely over pronates, she needs these orthotics for everyday wear, not just dance. And, as a mother I know it is not easy to get a kid to do it. But, my daughter's knees, ankles and back were bothering her. The orthotics really helped this! Before you see another doctor, tell her she must wear the orthotics. What if you spend the money on another doctor and they tell you/her the same thing?!

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After almost a year of dealing with my then 11-year-old daughter's injuries, I think the best resources were an excellent physical therapist and a pilates instructor who is also a ballet dancer. We went to a sports medicine chair at a major university hospital and she ended up deferring to the PT because it worked. My daughter actually got worse when working with the first PT. Someone from this list contacted me and told me to contact a PT at Washington U and she referred me to a former student. My daughter started improving immediately. Unfortunately, after she was fully healed, she sustained an avulsion fracture in gym class and then lost balance on her crutches and was out with a fractured foot for two months. So, it was back to the PT and pilates instructor after she had the cast off. The end result is that she now knows a lot about her body and is very strong--so no regrets. She has made up the lost time and learned a lot.

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If she severely over pronates then the orthodics are essential to wear. They ensure that she is not using her muscles incorrectly and that she is not placing pressure on her joints and her spine.

 

I know that its hard. My DD wears orthodics to her knees. But they should never be painful. Uncomfy yes, take a bit to adjust to, yes. But never painful.

 

I would suggest going back to the dr and having her do a pressure test. That will show where the orthodics are rubbing and then the orthodics can be trimmed down to eliminate pressure points.

 

Also, good thick socks and proper shoes make a huge difference in comfort of orthodics.

 

I know its hard, like b1 said, to see our kids have to adjust to knew things. But this shoudlnt be something that is painful enough to discourage use. Not if they were fitted right.

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