For us dancers, our knees are our lifeline. They are also one of the most common sources of pain and injury (not just for dancers, but everyone really). We take them for granted and don’t pay much attention to them… until we’re forced to.
I had extensive knee surgery at the age of 10 that required a long and painful rehabilitation period. For half a year I was out of school, lying on my bed, away from my friends, and, most awfully, unable to dance. In a way, it was also a valuable learning experience. Through my journey to recovery, I discovered the importance of proper exercise and mobility training in preventing knee pain.
As dancers, we put a lot of strain on our bodies, particularly our knees.
Here are some common reasons for knee pain in dancers:
- Improper Warm-Up: failing to properly warm up before a dance session can put a lot of stress on your knees, increasing the risk of injury ( I mean, seriously: how many times did you warm up before you took a salsa class or danced the whole night?)
- Weak Muscles: weak muscles can put added stress on your joints, leading to pain and injury.
- Incorrect Technique: using the incorrect technique when executing dance movements can also contribute to knee pain.
Ankle Exercises and Knee Pain Prevention
When we talk about knees it’s important to note that ankle mobility is just as important as knee mobility when it comes to preventing knee pain. The ankle joint is responsible for absorbing shock during jumps and landings, which can take some of the pressure off of the knees. Tight ankles can limit the range of motion in the knees and increase the risk of injury.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent knee pain before it starts.
Importance of Prevention
Prevention is always better than cure. One of the most effective ways is to incorporate regular mobility exercises into your routine. Not only can it reduce the risk of injury, but it can also improve your overall performance.
In this article, I will discuss some of the best exercises for knee pain prevention that dancers (and non-dancers) can perform. These exercises can help improve the range of motion and flexibility in your knees and ankles, which can reduce the risk of injury and alleviate pain. When your joints are more mobile, you can move more freely, allowing you to execute your movements with greater ease and precision.
I prepared a 19-minute follow-along video for you, where I included exercises that I do myself to prevent knee pain. The exercises are designed to be gentle and effective, helping dancers build strength and flexibility without putting undue strain on their knees. By incorporating these exercises into your regular warm-up and exercise routine, you can help prevent knee pain and keep your body healthy and strong.
So whether you’re a professional dancer or simply love to move, take the time to invest in your knee health. By performing regular mobility exercises and taking steps to prevent injury, you can enjoy dancing, free from pain and limitations.