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Dance Medicine: Head to Toe
A Dancer’s Guide to Health

by Judith R. Peterson, M.D.



1 The Beginning—Fostering Dancer’s Mental Health
Self-criticism and Dance
Body Image Issues and Dance
Stress and Injury
Why Can’t I sleep?
Injury and Dance
Five Things to Know About Your Mind/body Connection
Manage Your Stress! Five Techniques that Help

2 The Cervical Spine
The Atlas Strength of the First Neck Bone (C1)—Looking Up
The Axis (C2)—Taking a Look Around
Your Spine and the Slinky Toy
Muscles and Nerves
Neck Pain
The Ports de Bras: The Classic Arm Positions of Ballet
Five Critical Issues to Know about your Neck
Five Great Neck Exercises

3 Thoracic Spine
Thoracic Spine Anatomy
Problems of the Thorax
Thoracolumbar Junction
Thoracic Disc
Five Important Things to Know about your Thoracic Spine and Ribs
Five Great Exercises and Stretches for the Thoracic Spine

4 The Lung, the Heart and Dance
Tobacco Use
Dance Class and Your Heart
Five Heart-Lung Issues for Dancers
Five Lung Exercises for Dancers

5 The Importance of Diet
What is a diet?
Eating Disorders
Healthy Bones, Healthy Dancer
Dietary Supplements
The Vegetarian Dancer
Five Key Things to Know about Nutrition
Five Key Ingredients for the Dancer’s Diet

6 The Low Back or Lumbar Spine
Anatomy: The Functional Unit and How It Works
Spine Anatomy—Muscles
Spine Anatomy—Nerves
Low Back Pain in Dance
Pilates and Dance
Five Critical Things You Need to Know about Low Back Pain in Dance
Five Great Exercises and Stretches for Dances

7 The Hip
Hip Anatomy: Bone Structure
Turn-out and Femoral Anteversion
Hip Muscles
Clicking Hips: Anterior, Lateral, and Posterior Clicking
Injuries to the Ligaments of the Hip: Labral Tears and Femoroacetabular Impingement
Five Important Facts about Your Hip
Five Really Awesome Hip Exercises and Stretches for Dancers

8 The Knee
Bones of the Knee
Muscles of the Knee
Forces on the Kneecap
Predominantly Anterior Knee Pain and Its Causes
Problems with the Ligaments and Menisci
Another Structure: The Plica
Pain at the Outside of the Knee
Knee Arthritis
Five Critical Things to Know about Your Knee
Five Great Knee Exercises

9 The Ankle
The Mortise of the Ankle Joint
The Subtalar Joint
Ankle Mobility Required for Dance
The Ligaments of the Ankle
Osteochondritis Dissecans: Diagnosis and Treatment
Bony Injury of the Ankle and Its Rehab
Five Critical Things to Know about Your Ankle
Five Great Exercises to Keep Your Ankles Strong and Flexible

10 The Foot
Foot Zones
The Forefoot
Midfoot Pain
Foot Muscles
Plantar Fascia and Plantar Fasciitis
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Morton’s Neuroma
Skin Conditions
Five Critical Things to Know about Your Feet
Five Foot Exercises and Stretches

11 The Toes
Bones of the Toes
Muscles that Move the Toes
Toe Injuries
Pointe Shoes
Final Thoughts—The Floor
The Dancer’s Abbreviated Guide to Toes: Could it be This?
The Five Key Toe Tips to Help the Dancer

12 Optimizing Performance for a Lifetime: I Want to Dance Forever
Aerobic Exercise
The Myth of the Dancer’s Perfect Body
Cardiovascular Conditioning
Some Thoughts on Exercises for Strength, Endurance, and Flexibility in Dance
Motor Learning and Muscle Memory
Setting Realistic Goals
I Want to Dance Forever

Dancer Resources
Five Helpful Websites (Plus One!)
Four Helpful Apps for iPad or iPhone
The New York Times
Five Helpful Books


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