Knee pain.. how to avoid it

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by debmc, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    So since we seem to be on an injury prevention streak, what is helpful to avoid knee pain and injury? I have noticed that I have more knee pain after doing samba or bolero, and right now my left knee is extremely sore. I have seen many dancers have to stop dancing for weeks because of injured knees. Any advice on preventing knee injuries?
     
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    some of this may be a repeat of what I have said elsewhere but I will offer it here as well FWIW...I have tendonitis....it is not usual for me to dance an hour and a half of latin and then have to switch to foxtrot...in other wards, after spending a considerable amout of time lengthening the leg and coming close to locking it, I know have to switch gears and bend deeply into it....this will also happen if I have to go into samba....I find that it is exceedingly helpful to do a good 5-10 minute warm-up before embarking upon anything that I know is going to hurt my knees....and to take anti-inflamright before the lesson and a few hours after that....and I immediately put something like aspercreme or bengay on my knees after working them hard....I find that a long soak in a hot toub also helps immeasurably...in fact, I will not take a handicap hotel room because a tub is that important to my capacity to move after a day of dancing...I will also take glucosamine if it is really aggravated....additionally, I do backward walking on the elliptical, I will often wear a knee brace on bad days....and I never wear anything but comfortable shoes unless it is not possible for me to do so...I live in my crocs because of the shock absorbing qualities...not sexy, but important :)...I have had friends with far worse knees who have sought help from a chiropractor or gotten shots to help with the pain and inflammation...I have never had to ice my knees but I have seen people do it....I would just caution folks; working at a gym, I have learned that the shoes you wear really do matter, and the floor you work out on and dance on also really does matter....folks need to know if it is best to have a shoe that allows for lateral movement so they don't get a tear from moving their leg while their foot is still gripping the floor, OR, if one is doing something high impact with a shoe that doesn't absorb enough of the blow.....anyhow, just my random observations and survival techniques
     
  3. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    finally, a subject that I know something about! Let me say first, I'm not a doctor but have medical background and personal experience...

    I had three knee surgeries in a 6 year period , with the first one at age 35 (I ended up on crutches for 3 months after that one! No torn ligaments or anything, just arthritic damage). These were actually before I started dancing, about 6-7 years ago, and after I started dancing? Zip. No more surgeries, only occasional injections of artificial joint fluid. The knees are in good shape right now.

    How, you might ask? Well, what I have figured out and also been told is that the dancing actually helps, not only in keeping weight stable, but the quads and hamstrings are stronger and more stable, giving more support to the knees.

    I know that isn't something concrete to do, since you are already dancing, but staying in shape, and keeping the muscles fit and strong (I forgot to mention including the core) is a good start. IMHO, YMMV

    Oh, I forgot to mention, I was using stairs all the time because of my apartment situation then, and was told to use the stairs sparingly if at all after the surgeries, including Stairmaster at the gym. Elliptical machines are better, so sayeth my ex-ortho guy (I think he was able to retire after me and my knees). He also said no soda, diet or otherwise (phosporic acid leaches calcium from the bones, esp. in high quantities when used in lieu of other more bone-friendly drinks).
     
  4. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    Fasc. just reminded me- Glucosamine is your friend!
     
  5. Lya

    Lya Member

  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    oh...and stay hydrated
     
    Dr Dance likes this.
  7. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    I have worked closely alongside Orthopaedics surgeons and sports therapists and they also mentioned IT band syndrome when I would complain about knee pain and the need to make sure hip flexors are flexible, hamstrings and quads are EQUALLY strong - the meniscus is the area of the knee that is most vulnerable to strain and tears. By loosening the IT (I beat on the side of my thigh with the side of my hand or a tennis ball as taught to me by former ballet dancers) I have been able to get past knee pain and still dance. I am curious about earlier post of artificial joint liquid?? Haven't heard about this....
     
  8. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. Some of these suggestions I do already: I wear very comfortable shoes with arch support when I am not dancing, and I pad my dance shoes and keep heel height at 2 1/2 inches and switch out halfway through class. I also have been using a knee brace this past week and icing my knee. I do have lots of stairs in my home, so thanks KC, I need to plan ahead to try to limit them while I am healing. Fasc, what specific knee exercises do you do before hand to warm up?
     
  9. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Dancerdol, you are going to have to show me this IT loosening/thigh beating next time I see you! :)
     
  10. kckc

    kckc Active Member


    Ortho-Visc and Syn-Visc are some brand names, given in a series of injections (3-5 injections usually, over a few weeks, depending on the formulation). It is made to mimic synovial fluid, which is the fluid found in joints that keeps them moving smoothly. The first time I got them the doc wasn't sure how long I would be able to get relief because I am so active, but I have been able to go 2+ years between shots.

    Many therapies and surgeries (knee replacements and autologous cartilage injection) haven't been able to have been reviewed long-term yet on active, not-quite-middle-age people. (They flat-out refused to consider a knee replacement for the longest time, but now the replacements are much better-made and specific for gender, so I won't have a problem if it comes to that, which I hope it won't).
     
  11. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I take glucosamine/msm supplements and flaxseed oil supplements too. Overall since I started dancing I would say there is always some joint that gets inflammed or some muscle that gets pulled. This past week is has been my knees. I have also heard that tumeric spice and ginger are good antiinflammatories.
     
  12. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Single most important element in keeping my knees and ankles free from pain is keeping the surrounding muscles strong and flexible. That means resistance training and stretching for me. And as I get older, I find I have to do the same for my upper back as well.
     
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    resistance training is very important and making sure that one tends to the opposing muscle group as well
     
    Dr Dance likes this.
  14. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    One of the former World Champions whom I took coaching lessons with always stress so much on healthy dancing, take care of our knees, joints, and body. He often emphasize in ballroom, it is important the knee is properly aligned to the big toe, or aligned between the big toe and 2nd toe, if knee and toes going different directions (gets twisted), it is more likely to cause knee pain or injury in long run.
     
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    for a long while I took a yoga class immediately before my lessons...but I also do about 10-15 minutes of basic intl foxtrot forward and backward steps on my own...incidentally step aerobics was created to strengthen and stabilize the knee..and when done correctly, it does do that...but you have to alternate lead leg, and be the correct distance from the step and step onto it properly...but that is what it was created to do ....and I find that things like cardio kick and zumba are far greater threats to my knees because of the lateral movement...if anyone is curious...
     
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    if you aren't into FT, I also do the same with rumba walks
     
  17. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    I also prefer to wear comfy shoes when not dancing and I also like to pad my dance shoes for maximum support, keeping heel height at no more than 2.5" height are also awesome ideas. Also be aware of some bad dressy shoes they sell at Payless or department stores, some of them, especially the super high heel dressy shoes can really kill your feet and knees; I also figured out supa 1008 in 2" or 2.5" are more comfy than most high heel dressy shoes they sell at Department stores, so I'm thinking of ordering a pair of supa 1008 in black to match some of my black party dresses for some dressed up occasions.
     
  18. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    If you isolate muscles, yes. I tend to focus on multijoint functional exercises, so not so much of a concern, there.
     
  19. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I already incorporate exercises and stretches before dance class to warm up back, hips, ankles, feet, etc, etc... I think I forgot about my knees! I will try to focus on warming those up too, and I think as I build quad strength that will help as bolero in particular really can hurt my knees, but I am not doing much of that these days. I like the idea of aligning knees with toes, and I have heard that squats and lunges are bad for your knees unless one is super careful.
     
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    if you keep your knee behind your toe and your butt back, it is actually strengthening for your knees...but many folks don't
     

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