Dance medicine keeps them on their toes

September 22, 2008 5:33:44 PM PDT
Because they are so graceful and make it look easy, it's tempting to only think of dancers as performers

The popularity of "Dancing with the Stars," and dance in general, is driving a new field of medicine.

Some say dancers are "the ultimate athletes," because they need strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and artistry.

Now, some hospitals have performance medicine clinics, with the specialists dancers need all in one place.

Ohio State University even put its clinic in the theatre district of Columbus.

Since dancers usually start very young, by the time they're adults, they often have chronic problems.

And for the pros, who spend 8 hours a day in the studio, it can be serious.

Dr. Robin Hunter, the clinic director said, "They suffer primarily overuse injuries in the lower body, the ankle, the knee, the hip, and the lower back. Men, because of their lifting of their partner, especially have problems with use of the lower back."

The need for dance specialists will only increase, because it's predicted that the number of dancers will rise by 50% over the next 10 years.


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