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This month we would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the newest member of the Leduc Physio team! Marta Diduch recently graduated from the University of Alberta’s physical therapy program; her undergraduate studies were in kinesiology. With her many years of experience in competitive sports and an earlier career as a professional ballet dancer, Marta brings a special interest in dance and dance related injuries to the clinic.
When thinking about sports, dancing may not immediately spring to mind but the levels of flexibility, strength and endurance required demands a high level of athleticism. Many dancers spend hours per week fine tuning their skills – and this unfortunately creates a recipe for overuse injuries. Not surprisingly, the most common injuries affecting dancers are lower body injuries. In fact some studies show that up to 80% of all dance injuries are to the legs and feet.
I decided to pursue ballet because I am very passionate about music, movement and being active. Professional ballet dancing offers that in ample amounts and I loved every minute of my rigorous training and performing schedule. Also, dancing allowed me to combine developing as both an artist and athlete. I loved the exhilaration that came with pushing myself to my absolute best every day and overcoming my limits both physically and mentally.
I completed my training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and completed the School of Alberta Ballet two year post-graduate pre-professional training program. Performing with the Alberta Ballet Company and Moscow Ballet Company were the highlights of my classical ballet career. After retiring from dance I pursued ballroom and salsa dancing, and had the opportunity to perform and compete at the World Latin Dance Cup in Miami in 2013 (a type of Latin dance Olympics).
Muscle strains, ligament sprains and stress fractures are common and occur more often with age. Since many dancers begin training very young, it’s vital they learn healthy biomechanics to decrease the potential stress to tissues. A common reason for dancing injuries are muscle imbalances, where certain muscles are too tight and/or too strong while other muscles are too flexible and/or too weak. With dancers this usually occurs in the muscles of the lower body, for example in ballet the muscles that “turn out” the foot become very strong and tight while the muscle groups that do the opposite become weak.
The majority of dancing injuries can be prevented. A physical therapist can perform a biomechanical assessment to determine if any muscular imbalances exist. Specific strengthening and/or stretching exercises can then be prescribed to address these concerns. In some cases manual therapy, soft tissue work or modalities such as acupuncture or taping may be suggested.
As a physio I also recommend a cross training sport to complement the type of dance or gymnastics you or your child participate in, and as always, a proper warmup and cool down is an essential part of training. Finally, in the event a dance injury does occur it is important to seek treatment right away so that symptoms can be managed and the problem does not become chronic.
To schedule your physiotherapy assessment with Marta call Leduc Physio at (780) 980-5443.