Can those aches and pains be caused by the floor you are dancing on?
by Doctors for Dancers
Whether you’re dancing for 1 class a week or 10, it’s important to consider the kind of floor you’re dancing on. Dancing on a sprung floor reduces the risk of injury and can even prevent lifelong injuries. Unfortunately, we have seen studios who train pre-professional dancers that have just thin rubber over concrete as a floor, tile, laminate flooring, and non-sprung wood flooring. What do these all have in common?
They are bad for your body!
A concrete floor has a shock absorption of 0% leaving the full 100% shock of impact to the person landing. Dance creates impact energy. If the energy generated by dance is returned to the body it can result in shin splints, stress fractures, and an array of knee problems, tendonitis, and ankle sprains. Do any of these issues sound familiar to you? These can be common dance injuries, but they can also be the cause of the floor you are dancing on.
The benefits of having a sprung floor are reducing the risk of injuries because of the shock absorption. A “good” dance floor will have a shock absorption value of at least 53%. This means that the floor will absorb a minimum of 53% of the impact energy of a person landing on the floor, while the remaining 47% is absorbed by the person on landing.
The performance of a sprung floor is another benefit. The floor should have some sort of traction, to allow the dancer to fully express their movement without having the fear of falling or slipping. Foot and ankle stability is important when dancing, proper feet mobility can reduce ankle sprains or foot roll-overs.
Not all dancers have the privilege of always dancing on sprung floors.
So what can you do?
- Make the decision for yourself if you are going to train at that studio.
- Talk with the studio owner and let them know your concerns and maybe they will consider putting in proper flooring.
- Try to limit the number of classes you are taking at that studio.
There are going to be times when you have no choice of what kind of floor you are dancing on. You could be dancing in a parade on the pavement, dancing in a tour and the stage is not adequate, being in a rehearsal on a sound stage that doesn’t have a proper floor, being in a battle and it’s on straight cement are just some examples of different environments.
A great solution would be to put on Apolla Shocks that can help absorb some of the impacts on your body. Having a nice padded dance sock with high quality targeted compression zones that lift and stabilize the feet and ankles will help reduce inflammation. One of our favorites is the Infinite Shock. You can wear it any time of the day and it looks like a regular sock. We always have a pair in the dance bag just in case.
With dancing comes the risk of getting injured with all of the crazy things dancers do with their bodies. But what if we could help reduce our risk of injury just by checking on the floor we dance on? Next time you are going into a studio to train, ask them if they have a sprung floor before you take a class. You only have this one body to dance on, and if you want to have longevity as a dancer, this is definitely something you will want to consider in your dance training.
Working for Healthier Dancers Information Sheet No.6 by Mark Foley, Pub. Dance UK
Dance Floors? A handbook for the design of floors for dance by Mark Foley, Pub. Dance UK
Journal for Dance Medicine and Science International Society for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS)
Dance Equipment International Sprung Dance Floors: The Ultimate Guide. Pub. San Jose, California