Knee Pain? How to Keep it from Ruining Your Dancing

Knee pain is a common complaint.  It could be a result of injury, accident, or a mechanical misalignment caused by the body compensating for another issue. Whether it’s occasional or chronic, a dull ache or a sharp pain, it’s hard to ignore.

Some things that can cause knee pain are:

  • Twisted knee, i.e., the foot is planted with full weight on it and the body rotates
  • Back pain
  • Ankle problems
  • Foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, or bunions

When it comes to managing knee pain, there’s one thing professionals agree on.  Without a doubt, exercise is important.  With it, you’ll be able to strengthen the muscles that surround the knee. Without it, there’s the chance that you’ll get stiff and become even sorer.  That’s where ballroom dancing comes in.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor. But, I am an expert in things that have worked for me. Make sure to speak with your healthcare practitioner before taking up ballroom dancing or any other form of exercise.

If you decide ballroom dancing is the right form of exercise for you, some things to think about are:

  • Avoid all twisting actions that occur after you’ve taken a step. Swivels, over-rotations, and spins could cause additional knee pain. That’s the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Keep knees soft, in other words, don’t lock them.
  • Be sure to use gentle, easy stretching actions to warm up the muscles.
  • Stay away from any dance that could aggravate your bad knees. Some very fast dances like Jive, Cha Cha, Quickstep, Salsa, or Samba are probably best left for after you’ve made your recovery.

You might like this Dance Safari post, “Power of Ballroom Dancing – It Only Hurts When You Stop“.

Self Help – Don’t forget P.R.I.C.E!

Taking up ballroom dancing can be a good move when it comes to relieving knee pain. However, you’ll want to incorporate R.I.C.E. into your treatment as well. Actually, this old standby has a new look and is now known as P.R.I.C.E.

P: Protection

The key here is the prevention of further injury. In fact, if you suffer from knee pain, you might choose to use crutches, a cane, or a knee brace to help stabilize the affected area.

This post explains how to choose and wear a knee brace.

R: Rest

Take that injured joint out of play for a while. Although, be careful not to baby it too much, as experts believe gentle movement and exercise are key to a good recovery.

I: Ice

An ice pack to the affected area will help speed up the healing process by reducing swelling and decreasing pain. Try 10-15 minutes of treatment every 2-3 hours. Prevent skin irritation by covering the ice pack with a towel.

C: Compression

Give your knee some support by using a compression wrap. It’s an elastic bandage that’s placed around the injured area. It also helps to keep the swelling down.

Use compression bandages to help with knee pain.

E: Elevation

As much as possible, especially during the first 48 hours, rest with the injured area supported above the level of your heart. This prevents excessive fluid in the area and helps improve circulation and swelling.

use P.R.I.C.E. therapy for injuries

Finally, when you’re ready to get back to exercise, be sure to have the proper shoes if you’re walking or dancing. They’ll help with posture and balance to keep you pain-free.

And, one more thing, be gentle with yourself.

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    • Thanks, Carolyn. Having trouble with your knees is a “pain” whether you’re a dancer or not. The trick is to not let it stop you from using your passion to help relieve the pain. That’s what worked for me, anyway.
      Enjoy the weekend.

      • Thoroughly agree, Barbara. Thankfully, I haven’t had a serious knee problem – the occasional twinge but nothing that has prevented me from exercise or dance.
        However, my man K is still suffering the knee injury from last year. We haven’t danced since then; and, of course the ‘lockdown’ and now social distancing means no dancing for, at least, another month or two or three.
        The upside of that is the rest K’s knee has had over this period – we go on walks only!
        Here’s hoping the rest from dance proves a positive for him…

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