By Alesha Murfit
While many people dance for fun, for professionals it’s recognised as one of the world’s riskiest sports when it comes to injuries.
Competitive dancing ranks higher than weightlifting, wrestling and hockey in terms of injury risk.
While it’s one of the most dangerous events to participate in, it’s also one heavily focused on children, from infancy all the way through to their teens.
16-year-old Lily Huxtable has been dancing since she was three. She has competed in and won a number of state competitions. But as a result of her efforts she has to visit a physiotherapist almost every week in order to manage constant muscle and bone pain.
“Sometimes with dancing you feel scared to perform a certain way when you’re injured,” said Huxtable.
“There’s always a risk with getting injured in performing in a way you’re not prepared.”
She went on to list the many injuries she had acquired as a result of dancing, including heel damage, ligament strain and constant muscle tightness.
Despite this constant danger, Huxtable maintains that she will continue to dance for competition and her own enjoyment.
Paige Elizabeth Rice is completing a doctorate in exercise science at Edith Cowan University in the Biomechanics of dancers.
“Dancers are a unique group of performing athletes that require strength, stamina, power and grace for different styles of dance,” she said.
She explained that dancers get more exercise and practise than the average sport playing adolescent.
“…with such high volumes of training, overuse injuries occur primarily in the ankle- and hip-joints, lumbar region and thigh musculature.”
Rice went on to state that with proper training, a healthy diet and additional exercise, dancers can hope to prevent and potentially negate any injuries that could occur in the future.