Common Dancer ImagesLike many sports, in order to be a successful dancer, it requires flexibility, strength and stamina. Dancing is demanding and time consuming, and leaves no room for injury. However, dancing for hours on end, with only a few hours of rest and sleep in between offers minimal time to relax and rehabilitate sore or tight muscles. Knowing how to care for injured muscles and ligaments, as well as having access to physical therapy is necessary on the road to recovery.

Below are a few common injuries that dancers encounter along with symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for them.

Snapping hip syndrome (dancers’ hip)

Snapping hip syndrome “is a snapping sensation or popping sound heard in the hip while walking, flexing or extending the limbs[1].”

The snapping sensation can cause pain; however, working with a physical therapist at STARS can reduce symptoms and relieve pain! Other symptoms of snapping hip syndrome include discomfort in the hip, as well as stiffness in the hip.

In order to treat the ailment, physical therapists will first examine the hip, manipulating the area to feel for tight or sore muscles. They may then order an ultrasound or an MRI to ensure for accurate diagnosis.

Once the patient has been diagnosed with snapping hip syndrome, the STARS physical therapist will begin treatment. Treatment plans may include:

  • Manual therapy (stretching and massage)
  • Resistance training (increases muscle strength)
  • Cold compress for acute injuries
  • Heat to relax muscle spasms
  • Tool assisted manual therapy (Graston TechniqueĀ®, Astym)

After each therapy session, the physical therapist may send the patient home with stretches and exercises to help continue the healing process outside of the office. These may include stretches for the iliopsoas (the strongest hip flexor muscles) such as using a foam roller to roll out the iliopsoas, as well as the gluteus muscle.

In most cases, visiting a physical therapist regularly can ensure the hip’s return to normalcy. However, in cases of severe hip pain, surgery may be the best option. Receiving an evaluation with a STARS physical therapist as soon as discomfort or pain is felt will offer the best chance at healing without needing to go under the knife.

Trochanteric bursitisĀ (hip bursitis)

Trochanteric bursitis is when the bursa, a lubricating fluid-filled sac located on the outside of the hip joint, between the femur bone and the iliotibial (IT) band, is inflamed (swollen). Inflammation of any part of the body causes discomfort, but if a patient is experiencing discomfort when pressure is applied to the outside of the hip, or pain when in a squat position (walking upstairs, sitting down, etc.), visiting a STARS physical therapist for an evaluation can help ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of trochanteric bursitis.

When treating trochanteric bursitis, physical therapists will begin with an evaluation to guarantee that the patient has bursitis, and they will then create an individualized treatment plan to help the dancer return to the stage!

Once treatment with a STARS physical therapist has begun, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommend manual therapy and massage, as well as cold compress and heat to help reduce inflammation. Exercises to strengthen and increase flexibility in the hip muscles will most likely be integrated into the therapy as well. These exercises may take place both in the office and at home to help bolster the recovery process. In cases where physical therapy does not lessen the pain and inflammation, corticosteroid injections may be required, and in extreme cases, surgery is needed[2].

Similar to snapping hip syndrome, coming into Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services for a trochanteric bursitis evaluation as soon as pain or discomfort is felt will jumpstart your return to the dance floor rather than to the operating room!

Dancers are amazing athletes, they must be flexible, strong and have a seemingly infinite supply of stamina; however, that does not exempt them from injury. Here at STARS, physical therapists are eager to help all dancers achieve the perfect turnout, the boldest pop and lock, the swiftest cross body lead, and more. No matter which style of dance you prefer, come into STARS for an evaluation today!


1 “Physical Therapy And Your Hip!” Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services

2 “Hip Bursitis” American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons