At Allegro, we’re committed to keeping our dancers healthy. It's crucial for dancers to care for their bodies and minds and in order to do this, we must find resources within our community to help us with this ongoing job. We at Allegro are proud to partner with members of our community who are as dedicated to helping local dancers succeed as we are. Find out more about the field of Dance Medicine from local practitioner, Dr. Carrie Skony.
What is Dance Medicine?
Dance Medicine is a specialized area of healthcare that addresses the unique challenges that dancers face. Because of the high artistic and athletic demands, dancers are susceptible to distinct injuries compared to other high level athletes. Knee pain for a dancer often has a completely different origin than knee pain in, let’s say, a soccer player.
In dance, as in any athletic activity, injuries are quite common. Studies show that upwards of 80% of dancers sustain an injury in any given year. According to a recent study, among elite pre-professional adolescent dancers, 53% of injuries occurred in the foot/ankle, and 21.6% in the hip. The majority of injuries are secondary to overuse, and/or poor technique, and thus many can be prevented. Adolescent dancers are at particular risk to injury due to the still maturing adolescent body along with the high demands and repetitive nature of dance training. Early intervention for a dance injury can mean the difference between returning to class, or ending a career. Thus, proper knowledge of dance injuries, early identification and treatment of dance specific injuries is imperative to both the short term and long term success of any dancer.
Imagine as a dancer going to a doctor with complaints of ankle pain and during the exam having the doctor evaluate your technique, watching you releve, plie, saute jump, pirouette and jete with a discerning eye. They would merge their knowledge of orthopedics and physical rehabilitation with their knowledge of dance. They would use their evaluation to not only diagnose your injury as it relates to dance, but also point out any weaknesses or technical errors that have led to this injury or that may put you at risk for future injury. And they would make dance-specific treatment recommendations about how to proceed (not just the typical answer of “rest”).
This is Dance Medicine, and it is changing the world of dance at both the pre-professional and professional levels. It is the practice of treating dance injuries, and returning dancers to class and stage as quickly and safely as possible, with a decreased risk of re-injury. Ultimately, dance medicine physicians invest in a dancer’s health with the ultimate goal of optimizing a dancer’s performance and increasing their longevity as a dancer. In short, so they can dance stronger and dance longer.
Who is Dr. Carrie Skony?
Dr. Carrie Skony is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® and a dance medicine physician who treats dancers throughout the Chicago area. Dr. Skony’s passion is keeping dancers healthy and injury-free so they can dance stronger and longer. With a dance background, Dr. Skony is uniquely qualified to understand the demands of dance as it relates to biomechanics and injury. She is an active member of the International Association of Dance Medicine & Science and has studied dance injury and treatment extensively, including through Harkness Center for Dance Injury in NYC. She is committed to ongoing studies in dance medicine research and injury prevention. Among her favorite topics are: dance injury prevention, pre-pointe evaluation and pointe readiness, strength and conditioning for dancers, and nutrition for dancers.