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Preventing dance-related injuries

Dancing is a great way to exercise  and provides a great all-round cardiovascular workout.

However, proper technique, warm up, flexibility and core strength are important to prevent injuries.


Twisted ankles and sprains can be common.   The movements common in ballroom dancing require twists, turns and kicks, all of which put pressure on the feet and ankles in ways day-to-day life does not. It is important to wear well-fitting dance shoes.  This is why we do not allow flip-flops because they do not support your foot properly, which can lead to an ankle twist.


Lower back pain is second only to feet and ankle injuries in ballroom dancing and this is because the act of dancing often causes us to hold our bodies in unnatural positions.

Dancers have great posture but it takes years to build up the muscles to hold themselves in these positions, and core abdominal muscles are key.  sudden movements can also cause spasms and strains of back and other muscles in the body.

Yoga and pilates is common for dancers because it helps provide flexibility in the joints so that they can stretch into different positions, and helps strengthen the core so that they can hold their posture throughout the routine.


Dancing a routine is no less strenuous than going for a run, but with running you tend to use the same muscles repetitively; with dancing there are twists, sudden changes in movement which take their toll on different muscle groups, joints and ligaments.

The knee is supported by tendons and ligaments which can easily be strained.  This is why, for those students who plan to do more than just casual dancing, we recommend suede sole shoes, since rubber soles grip the floor more firmly and can prevent your foot from turning as easily.

Remember the acronym RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.  In most cases this will help to settle your injury but always check with your doctor.


Holding yourself in ballroom dance frame requires training, and as we are not accustomed to holding our arms at shoulder height for any length of time, this can strain the shoulder and upper arm muscles.  If you’ve attended a first-time ballroom lesson with us, we mention this when we talk about the importance of keeping your shoulders rolled back so that your back muscles can help support your arms.

Over time, without strength training and good abdominal muscles to support the frame, the position can cause inflammation in the muscles of the shoulder, arm and upper back.

As with any pain that is progressive, it is important to get it checked out by your doctor.  Your dance instructor will always be willing to modify your movements until you feel better.

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