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Physical Therapy for Injured Dancers from Someone Who Knows

Posted by Brian Spence on May 24, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Physical Therapy, Healthcare, Allied HealthPhysical therapy after an injury is considered essential, especially after orthopaedic surgery. For athletes and sports enthusiasts, most physical therapists are familiar with the common problems of restoring the range of motion necessary to resume the activity. But for dancers who need to recover after a fracture, sprain or torn muscle, few therapists truly understand what is required in order to perform at the pre-injury level.

At Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dancers seeking physical therapy have the advantage of a therapist with a background, and a degree, in dance.

Rebecca Strabala, PT, DPT. trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, as well as other forms of dance, brings not only a knowledge of the physical demands on a dancer, but also what it's like to suffer an injury from dancing and the effort it takes to recover.

Her physical therapist was unaware of what Rebecca needed in terms of range of motion and movement, resulting in frustration for them both. Strabala speaks a dancer's language and understands from personal experience what they need to be able to do. Dancers must have the physical power of a running back and the flexibility of a gymnast. They ask so much of their limbs, muscles and joints that they are subject to chronic pain and specific injuries.

Ankle sprains, knee cap problems, inflammation, and other problems result from repetitive movements and overuse. Strabala not only works with dancers in her Dance Physical Therapy program, but also teaches prevention of further injury by observing their execution to analyze if movement may be causing the problem. Reducing the risk of repeating the injury is a major goal. "I'd really like to get involved in going to studios and helping with that," Strabala says.

Physical Therapy schools are adding specialties to their curricula. Dance medicine is being offered at NYU, and Johns Hopkins, among others.

Physical Therapists and PT Assistants are in high demand. If you're interested in making a career move, contact us for expert help in finding the perfect position.

And if interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.


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