Sports Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 341–357 | Cite as

Overuse Injuries in Classical Ballet

  • Karim Khan
  • Janet Brown
  • Sarah Way
  • Nicole Vass
  • Ken Crichton
  • Ron Alexander
  • Andrew Baxter
  • Marie Butler
  • John Wark
Review Article


Successful management of classical ballet dancers with overuse injuries requires an understanding of the art form, precise knowledge of anatomy and awareness of certain conditions. Turnout is the single most fundamental physical attribute in classical ballet and ‘forcing turnout’ frequently contributes to overuse injuries. Common presenting conditions arising from the foot and ankle include problems at the first metatarsophalangeal joint, second metatarsal stress fractures, flexor hallucis longus tendinitis and anterior and posterior ankle impingement syndromes. Persistent shin pain in dancers is often due to chronic compartment syndrome, stress fracture of the posteromedial or anterior tibia. Knee pain can arise from patellofemoral syndrome, patellar tendon insertional pathologies, or a comination of both. Hip and back problems are also prevalent in dancers.

To speed injury recovery of dancers, it is important for the sports medicine team to cooperate fully. This permits the dancer to benefit from accurate diagnosis, technique correction where necessary, the full range of manual therapies to joint and soft tissue, appropriate strengthening programmes and maintenance of dance fitness during any time out of class with Pilates-based exercises and nutrition advice. Most overuse ballet conditions respond well to a combination of conservative therapies. Those dancers that do require surgical management still depend heavily on ballet-specific rehabilitation for a complete recovery.


Stress Fracture Ankle Sprain Hallux Valgus Spondylolysis Overuse Injury 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karim Khan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Janet Brown
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sarah Way
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nicole Vass
    • 1
    • 6
  • Ken Crichton
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ron Alexander
    • 1
  • Andrew Baxter
    • 1
  • Marie Butler
    • 1
    • 3
  • John Wark
    • 2
  1. 1.The Australian BalletSouth MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne HospitalUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Melbourne Dance ClinicMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.North Sydney Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine CentreCrows NestAustralia
  5. 5.Alphington Sports Medicine ClinicMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Nicole Vass PhysiotherapyNeutral BayAustralia

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