Patellofemoral syndrome (or knee injury) is a general pain found on, behind, or around the patella (kneecap). These include anything from strains, a tear to the tendon, cartilage deficiency, or pretty much any other trauma that can happen to a dancer’s knee. Injuries to the knee are “most often due to mechanical problems” in technique, muscle imbalance, or even the structure of the knee itself. Another cause of patellofemoral is chondromalacia, which is where the under area of the patella is “roughened” up and creates unbearable pain for dancers. Professionals state that knee or patella injuries are typically the result of dancers not “sinking” heels before jumps, excessive kneeling, overpronation, decreased hip strength, poor turnout technique, and even the floor being too hard. The knee is an area you don’t want to take lightly. Its function is complex and extremely necessary. An abused patella can mean a dead-end for a dancer’s career. If the pain is consistent, and rest and proper technique do not seem to alleviate the injury, consult a physician. It is important to keep in mind the other factors we have covered. Know your limitations in skill and strength. Don’t let a “minor” knee injury or pain become something worse by not giving it the proper attention. Also, remember to strengthen areas that can help give more support to your knees. These include the thigh muscles and hamstrings. Never “dance through the pain” when you can prevent an injury from becoming further debilitating. If the pain comes and goes, it’s most likely an issue of training and technique. Improve technique and use aftercare products and solutions during training and rest. Treat your knees with the respect they deserve; without them, a dancer is very limited. Well, there they are: the culprits of dance injuries in all their dreaded detail. If you are a dancer, please keep in mind the maxims in the previous paragraphs. Remember that technique is a huge factor in preventing dance injuries. Rest is a crucial key. Take the time to give your body a break in between class and performance. Your body does a lot for you, so treat it right by respecting its need for rest. Treat yourself to self-care products like topical lotions that contain aloe vera, arnica and chondroitin; search the web if you can’t find what you’re looking for in stores. Remember to use hot and cold elements to your advantage and compression when needed. Ice and heating pads make a huge difference and are fairly inexpensive. Remember to begin with your warm up routine and stretch thoroughly. Also keep your equipment (dance shoes, floor mats, etc) in good condition and make sure you have the proper gear and clothing, during practice and performance. The feet are the dancer’s creative center, so take care of them with foot padding, stretching and massaging. Apply foot creams that aid in inflammation relief. Last but not least, enjoy the creativeness and expression of dancing and keep your body active and strong for years to come!