Ask Amy: How Frequent is Too Frequent for Ballet Injuries?

How frequent is too frequent for ballet injuries? I'm a college ballet major with a rigorous schedule. Within the past year, I've had two sprained ankles, surgery for a labral tear in my hip and now possibly a stress fracture in my metatarsal. I cross-train and go to physical therapy regularly, and I always do my best to exercise proper technique. —Kyra

I consulted Dr. William Hamilton, an orthopedic surgeon who works with dancers in New York City, to get his take on your long list of injuries. While he can't make a diagnosis based on your letter, he agrees that something is going on. "Your body is sending bad messages, and you are right to be concerned about it," says Hamilton.

Factors such as hard floors, overtraining and years of bad habits (such as forcing turnout) can certainly contribute to multiple injuries.

And often one injury means

that you compensate in other ways,

creating a domino effect.

You may want to consider your busy schedule, and whether or not you are eating enough. Hamilton notes that the female athlete triad is very common in dancers who over-exercise. This happens when energy deficiency (often but not always triggered by disordered eating) leads to irregular menstrual cycles or a loss of your period, which leads to low bone density. This can put you at a particular risk for stress fractures and other injuries. Hypermobile dancers are also susceptible to frequent setbacks. "Studies show that they are frequently injured and tend to have short careers," says Hamilton.

But don't try to self-diagnose. "You need a full physical consultation with a doctor," says Hamilton. Make an appointment with an MD who works with a professional dance company or, if one's not available near you, a sports medicine doctor.

Latest Posts

Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!

Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation... but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks