Family 411: Chronic injuries of dancers

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They pour artistry into their athletics, but they could be in for a lifetime of aches.

Tara Morgan from WSYX shows how your young dancer can stave off chronic injuries in this Family 411 Report.

Her movements are effortless.

"I was bit by the bug when my mom took me to to my first performance of the Nutcracker.

A professional dancer turned choreographer, training the very young to the young at heart over a 30 year span.

"I see families now who have students as young as seven and eight years old taking 20 hours of dance a week."

Dancers are athletes who perform their sport.

Prone to injuries like their counterparts on the playing field.

"This knee has been dislocated 14 times and that first injury happened when I was 13."

A knee injury that forever changed how Melissa Gould moves on the dance floor.

"I am very aware of the angles that I step and move in. I always ice it, rest it and elevate it if it ever gets irritated."

Melissa encourages young dancers to find a balance between pushing their body and rest.

"The hours you put in the studio are going to stress out your muscles stress out your joints, your ligaments. Their bodies are going through huge changes especially as they go through puberty."

Clinical athletic trainer Ashley Minnick helps artistic athletes return to performing, after an injury.

"I think the big thing with kids is getting them to know there's a difference to being 'I'm sore, I worked out hard and I'm injured.'"

Ashley says dancers are hard on their bodies.

The most common injuries are tendinitis and stress fractures.

"Dancers don't have down time, they train year round."

The best way to limit injuries is proper warm ups, cool downs, nutrition and sleep.

"You need rest. Your body has to be able to rebuild itself."

So the focus is on the performance.

"Dancing is a great way of expressing yourself."

Whether in the studio or on the stage.

Both Gould and Minnick recommend looking for a studio that will have your child's best interest in mind whether they just want to learn dance movement or wanting to perform late in life.

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