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Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury for Dancers

Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury for Dancers

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Published by: aerialartsasia8383 on Mar 06, 2009
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11/10/2012

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What is it?

The lateral epicondyle is the area on the outside of the elbow where the wrist extensor
muscles attach to the bone. This muscle group performs motions such as bending the
wrist backward (extension), turning the hand palm-side-up, and lifting an object while
keeping the elbow straight.
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is an inflammation of one or
more of the tissues around the lateral epicondyle. In most cases, the extensor tendon is
inflamed.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms include tenderness, pain, and swelling at the lateral epicondyle.

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Bending the wrist upward or gripping will aggravate symptoms.

What causes it?

Overuse of the hand and wrist extensor muscles is the most common cause of lateral
epicondylitis, particularly when extending the fingers while the wrist is extended.
Strained or overused muscles become inflamed and produce symptoms. Lateral
epicondylitis can worsen if it is not addressed quickly and effectively.
Musicians at risk of lateral epicondylitis include clarinet, oboe, trombone, percussion,
and keyboard players.

Treatment

Many tendinitis injuries have the same treatment protocol. Key components are applying
ice to the affected area and stretching gently. For appropriate icing protocols and
stretches, consult a health-care professional as soon as you feel symptoms. The sooner an
injury is identified, the quicker the recovery and greater the chance of a full recovery.

Prevention

The keys to prevention are body awareness and stretching. Knowing the mechanics of the
injury allows musicians to examine their technique and make minor posture changes
while still maintaining the same performance results. Awareness of the body’s position in
relation to the instrument is key.
Frequent stretch breaks (every 45–60 minutes) help provide working muscles with an
active recovery. Stretching helps relax tight muscles and improve flexibility and
circulation. All of these are key in the prevention of injuries.

Additional information

For more information, refer to the following sections:
• “Risk Factors,”
• “General Prevention and Treatment,”

References

Floyd, R., and C. Thompson. 1994. Manual of structural kinesiology. Toronto: Mosby-
Year Book Inc.
Noteboom, T., R. Cruver, J. Keller, B. Kellogg, and A. Nitz. 1994. Tennis elbow: A
review. Journal of Orthopaedic Sports Physical Therapy 6:358–366.
Reid, D. 1992. Sports injury assessment and rehabilitation. New York: Churchill
Livingstone.
Renstrom P. 1994. Clinical practice of sports injury prevention and care. London:
Blackwell Scientific Publications.

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