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Dancing can lead to athletic knee injuries as seen with DWTS winner Amber Riley

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Since Amber Patrice Riley and her partner Derek Hough won the mirrored ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars, November 26, 2013, it is a day to be remembered. Not only was Ms. Riley the first African American female to win the coveted prize but she did it with painful knees.

Dancing can lead to athletic knee injuries as seen with DWTS winner Amber Riley. The wear and tear that occurs while dancing should not be overlooked. Knee damage can be irreversible. Never ignore the symptoms.

Amber Patrice Riley’s injury could be categorized as an overuse injury. Overuse injuries occur with repetitive activities or prolonged pressure on the knee. Activities such as stair climbing, bicycle riding, jogging, dancing, or jumping stress joints. Surrounding tissues can become irritated and inflamed.

Knee problems can begin with overuse. Ballroom dancing is especially risky because of the twists, turns and pivots. Quick pivots with a planted foot create dislocations in the knee joint.

In ballroom dancing, women take the brunt of the activity with twirls, back bends and neck extensions for dramatic endings. Men take a beating by bearing their partner’s weight and acrobatics. Break dancing routines put stress on every joint in the body. Many dancers are contortionists.

Overuse injury symptoms include:

  • Inflammation of the small sacs of fluid that cushion and lubricate the knee (bursitis)
  • Inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) or small tears in the tendons (tendinosis)
  • Thickening or folding of the knee ligaments (plica syndrome)
  • Pain in the front of the knee from overuse, injury, excess weight, or problems in the kneecap (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
  • Irritation and inflammation of the band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh (iliotibial band syndrome)
  • A pinched nerve radiating from a hip or low back problem, can sometimes cause knee pain.

Acute injury categories include:

  • Sprains, injuries to the ligaments that connect and support the kneecap
  • Breaks (fracture) of the kneecap, lower portion of the femur, or upper part of the tibia or fibula. Knee fractures are most commonly caused by abnormal force, such as a falling on the knee, a severe twisting motion, severe force that bends the knee, or when the knee forcefully hits an object.
  • Strains, injuries to the tendons that connect and support the kneecap.
  • A tear in the rubbery cushions of the knee joint (meniscus).
  • Ligament tears, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL)

The most commonly injured ligament of the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It doesn't take a lot of movement in the knee joint to tear the ACL. An ACL injury is common in athletes especially contact sports like football and rugby. The ligament may be sprained or torn.

Weather and barometric pressure (atmospheric pressure) affects your joints. “This pressure is always with us, and the slightest deviation can be felt in the suction cups called our knees, hips and shoulders,” according to Mehmet Oz, MD, TV host.

As soon as you experience knee pain, get off of it. Don’t cover the pain and continue damage. Immediate immobilization and application of rest, ice, compress and elevate (RICE technique) is important. If pain and swelling persists, see a specialist.



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