The intersection of dance and orthopedics

Injury and Rehabiliation

Dance is a sport with no off-season which can often lead to overuse injuries and chronic fatigue. Ankles, hips, and knees are especially at risk with the repetitive nature of irish dancing. Poor nutrition from disordered eating patterns related to body image concerns can exacerbate these problems in artistic athletes such as dancers and gymnasts. Doctors who understand the lifestyle and demand of these patients and the interplay of these issues are needed in the field of sports medicine.

The Hip

Hip flexibility with excellent turnout and extension are a keystone of dance technique, but these features also put us at risk of developing chronic hip problems. The repetitive high kicking and forced extension in dance can lead to painful conditions such as labral tears or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Underlying hyperlaxity or acetabular dysplasia can cause painful instability which can be difficult to treat through physical therapy alone. I've personally dealt with these issues and know how challenging it can be. When deciding with your doctor when and how to treat these problems it is essential dancers speak up about their goals and desires, as well as their symptoms and how they are affecting both their every day life and their sport.

Mentorship

Supporting the next generation is one of the greatest gifts an older dancer or athlete can give. Helping younger men and women dream and achieve their goals inside and outside the dance studio is one of my passions. Within orthopedic surgery there are very few women, so role models for us are few and far between and I would love to change that! I am happy to discuss career options in healthcare, orthopedics and sports medicine. Healthcare has many rewarding career options beyond just doctor or nurse. I also proudly support the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society as well as the Perry Initiative which promote women in the field of orthopedics.

My Dancing

Although I enjoyed tap, ballet and gymnastics as a child, I actually found irish dance as an adult in 2009 with the Inis Cairde School of Irish Dance in Raleigh, NC. What started as a fun form of exercise to take my mind off of pre-med courses in college lead to competitive Irish dance competitions, including the Southern and Mid-America Oireachtas in both teams and solos. Most of all I love to perform and have been extraordinarily lucky to dance for Solas, Lunasa, The Chieftans, Danu, Gaelic Storm, as well as a variety of local bands in the midwest and southeast. I most recently danced with the Champagne Academy of Dance in Iowa with Trea Champagne TCRG.

Looking for an upcoming performance in the Iowa City area? You can check out what my former dance school is up to here: