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My 15 year old daughter is a ballet dancer and has been struggling with foot pain off and on over the last 6 months. She is now also starting to complain of hip pain. What could be the problem, and can physical therapy help?
Physical therapy can be very beneficial for your daughter. In fact, waiting any longer to treat her injuries prolongs her chance for recovery, and ultimately, her return to full dancing activity. It is always best to seek medical attention and physical therapy early in the injury phase in order to maximize recovery and limit tissue injury. With that said, it becomes difficult with certain sport such as dance and gymnastics, which are year-long sports with no "off season". Many of these athletes do, in fact, experience frequent minor injuries throughout the year. Unfortunately, their rigorous training schedule does not always allow much time for healing and recovery to take place.
The danger becomes when injuries are left untreated, the athlete continues to participate in their sport, and the body eventually gives in to the demands placed on it. This not only worsens their current injury, but also, often results in a cascade of other problems, leading to additional injury. This is all too common with sports such as these where the artistic and athletic demands are so great. The one thing an athlete never wants to hear is that they must stop doing what they love.
Consulting with a physical therapist early in the process is crucial for achieving an optimal outcome and returning to dance as soon as possible. A therapist will thoroughly evaluate your daughter's injury and determine the best rehabilitation plan for her. More importantly, he or she will guide her with what type of dance specific skills she may safely perform in order to avoid further injury.