We provide comprehensive improvement of health and wellness for dancers, gymnasts, musicians, figure skaters and other active artists.

Our Performing Arts Medicine team consists of sports medicine primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists and athletic trainers experienced in dealing with the special needs of the performing artist.

We are trained in a number of treatment techniques, including manual therapy, dance-specific exercise programs and Pilates-based rehabilitation.

We treat a wide range of performance skill levels, from recreational to high school to collegiate to professional dancers. Our patients come from a variety of dance performance genres, such as ballet, contemporary, West African, liturgical and Irish. We also treat gymnasts, musicians, figure skaters and Broadway performers.

Dance Wellness Screens

Dance Wellness Screens

Dance Wellness Screens are exclusively designed to help the dancer understand more about his or her body and potential areas of further improvement to enhance performance and career longevity. The assessments are completed individually, with a summary and exercise packet specific to the results. Follow-up sessions can be purchased to have further instruction on your results and exercises. The screen evaluates:
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Leg, arm, foot and core strength and range of motion
  • Movement analysis
You would benefit from a Dance Wellness Screen if you:
  • Want to learn more about your body
  • Want to address known or unknown areas or weakness or faults
  • Have concerns about proper strengthening and stretching habits
  • Are preparing to increase training or performances
  • Have experienced a growth spurt
  • Have concerns about generalized chronic aches and pains that come with dancing
A Dance Wellness Screen is not meant for diagnosing and treating injuries. If you are concerned about an injury, see your physician instead and possibly follow-up with formalized physical therapy with one of our Performing Arts Medicine team members.

A Dance Wellness Screen includes an examination, results and recommendation education packet; no prescription is necessary. A one-hour individual session is $130.

Follow-up sessions are focused on continued education and guidance based on screen results (must be used within six months of the initial Dance Wellness Screen). A single 30-minute session is $60; three 30-minute sessions are $160.

Introduction to Dance Injuries


Introduction to dance injuries

When injuries arise, many dancers are often unsure what to do. Important steps to follow when injury strikes include injury recognition, proper treatment, understanding what factors led to the injury and a progressive return to training.

Not every hurt is an injury. Minor aches and pains typically ease once the muscles warm up. Pain that persists, becomes more intense as you dance and is localized to a particular area is a warning sign to stop. If pain continues after dancing and for the remainder of the day, be cautious and initiate treatment phases. Additionally, watch for swelling at the site of injury – this is a sign of irritation and inflammation.

Overall, always remember that pain is your body’s way of warning you that something may be wrong. It's normal to feel an occasional ache or pain while dancing – don't be alarmed every time you feel a twinge. However, when this twinge doesn't resolve and becomes progressively worse, stop before you cause greater injury.

Once you recognize that you have an injury, initiate RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. You must rest the injured area until you can resume pain-free dancing. Cross-training is an excellent cardiovascular option to maintain fitness as long as it does not cause symptoms in the injured area.

While you are recovering, analyze the reasons why you may have become injured. Causes of dance injuries can include abnormal anatomic alignment, poor training and technical errors – are you forcing turnout? Are your feet rolling in or overpronating? Do you suffer from muscular imbalances?

Unfamiliar choreography or style, and environmental factors including flooring surfaces and theater temperature, can contribute to acute and overuse injuries. Further, the female athlete triad of disordered eating, amenorrhea and low bone density/osteoporosis leads to an increased risk for stress fracture and injury.

Common dance injuries include:

Ankle Impingement

Anterior impingement may develop when the tibia (shinbone) and the talus (main ankle bone) do not properly glide over one another, pinching the tissues on the front of your ankle. Over time this can cause biomechanical changes in the ankle that can be more difficult to overcome.

Posterior impingement may be cause by inflamed soft tissue or bony compression in the back of the ankle. The muscles of the calf can become inflamed around and just above their attachment at the heel. Variations in bony anatomy can cause continued compression due to the amount of time the foot is in a pointed position with dance. These issues can cause a restriction in the pointing movement.

Symptoms
  • Anterior: Sharp, grabbing pain in the front of the ankle with plié and jumping
  • Posterior: Pain with jumping
  • Restriction with relevé (unable to rise en pointe)
  • Pain with taking off or landing from jumps
  • Pain with pointing, as in tendu

Treatment
  • Rest and ice the injured area.
  • Examine your technique to ensure you are working in proper alignment.
  • Consult a healthcare provider to rule out any other overuse injury.
  • Joint mobilizations performed by a healthcare professional may give you more motion. Manual therapy may release any soft tissue restrictions.
  • A kinetic chain examination is highly recommended.
  • Your physician will evaluate you to see whether surgery is recommended.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an acute injury that's common in all types of physical activity. It's the most common ballet-related sprain or strain. The typical mechanism is “rolling over” the outside of the ankle (lateral sprain). In dance this is usually caused by landing a jump, turning or coming off your toe en pointe. The severity of an ankle sprain is graded first, second or third (mild, moderate or severe), depending on the extent of ligament injury.

Causes 

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Poor motor control and/or balance 
  • Lapse in concentration


Symptoms 

  • You may hear and/or feel a “pop” in your ankle. This may be quite painful and you will have some immediate swelling in your ankle joint. 
  • You may develop ecchymosis (discoloration) or bruising into the foot or up the lateral (outside) side of your leg.


Treatment  

  • Follow PRICE:
    • Protect the injured area with compression wraps or braces. 
    • Rest the injured area. Do not attempt to continue to dance or be active. Sit down! 
    • Ice the injured area 15-20 minutes every hour. 
    • Compress the area with an elastic bandage if available. Start at toes with the most compression and gradually reduce the pressure as you wrap up the ankle. 
    • Elevate the injured area above the heart. This prevents the swelling from settling in the ankle joint. 
  • If it's not possible to bear weight or walk on the injured ankle, seek medical attention. Your physician may order X-rays to rule out a fracture.
  • Depending on the severity, you may need formal therapy to regain your range of motion and strength and retrain your balance.
  • Manual therapies are also recommended to promote and re-establish proper mechanics and prevent the formation of scar tissue.

Ankle Tendonitis

Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, an overuse injury usually due to repetitive stress activities such as excessive running and jumping. In chronic cases, the tendon composition changes over time, causing a thickening known as tendinosis. In severe/chronic cases, microtearing can occur, increasing the risk of tendon rupture.

Common sites
  • Achilles tendon (back of the heel)
  • Flexor hallucis longus (medial ankle/arch into the big toe)
  • Posterior tibialis (medial ankle into the arch)
  • Peroneals (lateral leg into the lateral ankle/foot)

Causes
  • Environment – footwear, floor surfaces and choreography
  • Muscle weakness and lack of flexibility
  • Alignment/technique – lack of heel contact with landing, rolling in during plié or landing from jumps

Symptoms
  • You'll experience a gradual increase in pain in the affected area. Pain is typically felt at the beginning of class. 
  • Due to the muscle tightness that is usually associated with this injury, you may experience restrictions in the depth of your plié and pain when going into relevé, landing from a jump, winging or sickling the foot or with turns. 
  • You may also experience pain with stretching.

Treatment
  • Ice after activity and lightly stretch to maintain flexibility.
  • Avoid jumps and any other activities that elicit pain (pliés, relevés).
  • Utilize manual therapy, including self-massage and cross-friction massage at the insertion of the tendon to release the muscles.
  • Find the source of what is causing the pain (poor technique, overtraining).
  • Participate in a concentric (contracting the muscle as it lengthens) exercise program.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised.

Calf Strain

Lower leg pain can be due to a macrotrauma or an acute injury to the belly of the calf muscle, leading to microtearing. The dancer feels an intense pull or pop in the middle of the muscle. Swelling and bruising can occur. Pain is felt when contracting the muscle, as in relevé or jumps. Typically, this occurs more often in males than females.

Causes
  • Excessive jumping
  • Muscle fatigue 
  • Tightness of the gastrocnemius/soleus complex (calf muscles)

Treatment
  • Rest, ice, compressive wrap and elevation (RICE).
  • See therapist for manual therapy to decrease swelling and spasm.
  • Work to restore strength slowly, addressing flexibility issues.

Hallax Valgus (Bunion)

This is an overuse injury that occurs when the big toe starts to deviate at an angle toward the second toe. As the angle of the deviation increases, a bump may begin to form at the joint; this bump is called a bunion. Bunions are more common in feet that overpronate (roll in).

Causes
  • Bunions develop over time and can be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow
  • Improper pointe technique 
  • Heredity

Symptoms
  • A bunion is not always painful. However, if pain develops, you typically experience a gradual onset of pain. 
  • You may notice your big toe is swollen and painful to the touch after technique or rehearsal. 
  • Pain when going up onto demi-pointe may also be an indicator that you are developing a bunion as the inflammation may limit the range of motion in your toe.

Treatment
  • Toe spacers help keep space between the toes and assist the big toe in staying straight so that it tracks properly.
  • Silicone gel or felt pads may help cushion the area taking pressure off the bunion.
  • Strengthening of the intrinsic muscles of the foot may also help keep the toe in better alignment and prevent larger deviations, leading to correcting improper foot structure.
  • Arch support in your daily shoes will help prevent the foot from rolling in.
  • Icing after activity helps limit the amount of inflammation.
  • Gentle manipulation and myofascial release techniques by a medical professional are recommended.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised.
  • If your pointe shoes are too small for your feet, you may need a bigger pair or a different style.
  • Have your teacher assess your ballet technique. If you are working through your foot improperly or excessively pronating, this can cause your injury to get worse.

Knee Pain

Knee pain, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is usually due to improper tracking of the patella (kneecap) when the patella does not glide smoothly along the femur (thigh bone). Pain is usually felt anywhere around the kneecap.

Over time, the cartilage beneath the patella can soften and wear away. This softening or wearing away of cartilage and the pain and inflammation associated with it are referred to as chondromalacia.

Causes
  • Tight iliotibial band may pull the kneecap laterally (to the outside)
  • Tight gastrocnemius/soleus (calf) muscles
  • Weak hip muscles, especially the gluteus medius and hip external rotators
  • Weak medial quadriceps (inner thigh) muscle
  • Poor hip-knee-ankle alignment with plié and jump tasks
  • Poor core stability

Symptoms
  • Dull aching pain
  • Sharp pain with dance moves such as pliés, especially grand plié
  • Pain with jumping
  • Pain after sitting for a long time
  • Swelling around the kneecap
  • Crepitus (snapping or crunching sounds) with knee flexion/extension

Treatment
  • Icing after activity will help limit pain and inflammation.
  • Reduction in training time.
  • Cross-friction massage at the kneecap tender points.
  • Strengthening program for the core, hip and thigh.
  • Stretching of calf, quadriceps and iliotibial band.
  • Avoidance of grand plié and jumps until pain symptoms diminish.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised.

Lateral Knee, Hip Pain

Lateral knee or hip pain, known as iliotibial band syndrome or ITBS, occurs when the iliotibial band, which runs from the lateral hip down to the knee, becomes tight. This tightness can cause the tendon to “flip” over the outside bony prominence of the knee (lateral tibial tubercle) as the knee flexes. The “flip” can cause an audible “pop,” which causes discomfort and pain. The tightness can also pull on the knee, affecting its mechanics.

Symptoms
  • Pain and or swelling on outside of the knee
  • Tight hip flexors
  • Outside hip pain in your stance leg
  • Painful “pop” when you plié, jump or developpé

Treatment
  • Rest.
  • Ice the insertion point at the knee.
  • Use a foam roller: manual therapy can assist in releasing tight tissues.
  • Avoid grand plié and fifth position.
  • Evaluate training schedule to determine if you are overtraining.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised.

More +

Lower Back Sprain

A low back sprain may involve injury to the joints of the back called the facet joints. The spinal muscles can be strained from overuse or being overstretched. In either case, protective muscle spasm, guarding and limited range of movement typically occurs.

Causes
  • Choreographic demands, especially partnering and extreme spinal movements
  • An unsupported fall to the floor
  • A sudden movement the body is not prepared for
  • Poor lumbo-pelvic stability

Treatment
  • Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Use of a back brace.
  • Manual therapy by a medical professional to restore proper myofascial and/or joint mobility.
  • Correcting postural and/or lifting technique.

Plantar Fasciitis

Heel or arch pain is known as plantar fasciitis. It's an inflammation of the plantar fascia or irritation at its attachment on the medial (big toe side) aspect of the calcaneus (heel) often related to excessive weight-bearing.

Causes
  • Excessive jumping
  • Poor mechanics such as overpronation with plié, jumps or excessive turnout in gait

Symptoms
  • You may notice pain at the medial heel after increased use toward the end of class or end of the day. 
  • The pain can be aggravated by dancing on hard surfaces and is typically worse in the morning or when standing after prolonged sitting.

Treatment
  • Roll arch on frozen water bottle during acute (new injury) phase.
  • Apply cross-friction massage at the site of attachment to reduce soft tissue restrictions.
  • Perform hip, gastrocnemius/soleus (calf) and foot intrinsic muscle stretching and strengthening maneuvers.
  • Modify activities by reducing aggravating movements.
  • Cross-train with floor barre, cycling, Pilates or swimming until inflammation subsides.
  • Address technique and alignment dysfunction.
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms persist; gentle manipulation and myofascial release techniques are recommended.

Rotator Cuff Strain/Tendonitis

Rotator cuff tendonitis is the inflammation of one or more of the tendons that comprise the rotator cuff of the shoulder. This can be due to improper lift technique and/or repetitive partnering activity. A tear can occur if the trauma is forceful, such as falling on an outstretched arm or forcing the arm in a compromising position.

The most common sites of pain are:
  • On top of the shoulder, often radiating into the deltoids (upper arm)
  • The front of the shoulder
  • The posterior shoulder area that can radiate into the triceps area

Symptoms
  • With tendonitis, you may experience a gradual increase in pain symptoms in your shoulder. Pain may initially be a deep ache, and worse when sleeping on the affected side.
  • As the condition progresses, you may have pain when moving your arm and find that completing everyday tasks, such as lifting your arm overhead or putting on a shirt, become difficult. 
  • With an acute tear, you will have immediate pain and possible swelling. Depending on the severity, you may not be able to raise the affected arm above your head. It may also be uncomfortable to have your arm hang at your side. 

Treatment
  • Rest, ice and take anti-inflammatory medicines initially.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised.
  • Manual therapy by a medical professional.
  • Take a postural re-education and rotator cuff rehabilitation program, focusing on strength and stability.
  • Meet with your healthcare provider to determine the severity of your tendonitis or tear and discuss the need for surgery with your physician if there's a significant tear.

Shin Splints

Shin splints involve pain and inflammation in the lower leg due to repetitive stresses. Pain is usually on the medial (inside) border of tibia due to irritation of the muscle attachments and/or periosteum (outside layer of bone) along the lower leg. If treatment or rest is not initiated, this can progress to a stress fracture.

Causes
Training factors
  • Increased volume of dancing compared to regular schedule, such as rehearsals or summer intensives
  • Tight gastrocnemius/soleus complex (calf muscles)
  • Training on an unsprung floor
  • Frequently changing dance style/choreography
  • Footwear
Biomechanical factors
  • Flat feet/collapsed arch
  • Improper shoe type
  • Improper body alignment

Symptoms
  • Your symptoms will develop over time rather than all at once
  • If untreated, this pain can become more frequent/constant and intense. Your shin may become tender to the touch. You may notice:
    • Pain that becomes worse with prolonged dancing
    • Rest relieves pain
    • Soreness so bad that pain is experienced when walking
    • Limitations with pliés, frappés (gesture leg) and jumps
If you are able to pinpoint with a fingertip exactly where you have pain on your shin, the injury may have progressed to a stress fracture and you should see your sports medicine physician as soon as possible.

Treatment
  • Rest and ice will help with your pain symptoms.
  • Ice massage is the best way to ice for shin splints. Take a paper or foam cup, fill it with water and freeze it. Peel the cup down to the ice and massage it along the painful area for five minutes.
  • Restrict activities until symptoms improve.
  • A kinetic chain examination can help find the cause of your injury.
  • Arch supports in your shoes and arch support tape during activity may alleviate some of your pain.
  • Avoid walking barefoot or in flip-flops.
  • Manual therapy is very effective in releasing muscles and fascia in the lower leg.

Snapping Hip

Snapping hip may not cause pain when it occurs, but the tendon can become irritated if not addressed. It may be considered an injury if it occurs more frequently or becomes painful. It's very common among dancers and commonly occurs during grand battement developpé – especially à la seconde and rond de jambe en l’air.

Common sites
  • The snap typically occurs in the gesture leg; in ponche, the snap usually occurs in the stance leg but can occur in the gesture leg as well
  • Lateral snapping involves the iliotibial band snapping over the greater trochanter (outside of hip)
  • Anterior snapping involves the psoas (hip flexor) tendon snapping over a bony prominence or another (iliacus) tendon in the hip, causing groin pain
  • Deeper snapping or snapping in the lumbar spine (low back) may indicate sacroiliac joint dysfunction or lumbar spine instability

Causes
  • Poor lumbo-pelvic core control
  • Weak hip flexors and/or external rotators
  • Tight hip flexors and/or iliotibial band

Symptoms
  • Sharp pain in the groin/lateral hip region

Treatment
  • Apply self-massage techniques for the hip region.
  • Modify dance schedule by keeping your leg lower or using less turnout.
  • Initiate a core stability program and regain flexibility.
  • Address postural dysfunction, especially with movement.
  • A kinetic chain examination is advised
  • Manual therapy techniques by a medical professional.
  • See a healthcare provider if the snapping causes pain and begins to affect your technique. There could be a soft tissue lesion or bony restriction causing the snap to occur.

Spondylolysis or Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture to the vertebra in the lower back, known as pars interarticularis. Spondylolisthesis is a stress fracture to the pars interarticularis, which includes anterior slippage of the vertebrae.

Causes
  • Repeated stress in lumbar spine, particularly hyperextension movements
  • Poor lumbo-pelvic stability
  • Overly tight hip flexors

Symptoms
  • Restricted extension in the thoracic spine (mid-back) 
  • Hyperextension in lower back
  • Movements, such as port de bras, cambre (especially back) and arabesque, are painful. 
  • Can progress to pain in everyday tasks and may affect sleep

Treatment
  • Seek medical attention, especially with chronic back pain. Early recognition of stress fracture will help in your recovery process.
  • Rest from dance and hyperextension activities.
  • Start a local and global core stability program.
  • Relearn movement and dance technique to use the entire spine.
  • Seek manual therapy by a medical professional to restore any postural faults or myofascial restrictions throughout the body.

Stress Fracture

Stress fracture is a chronic injury that's caused when a specific part of a bone experiences more repetitive load than it can tolerate. Although stress fractures can occur in any bone that bears repeated stresses, there are three common places where dancers experience a stress fracture:
  • Base of the second metatarsal (foot bone)
  • Along the fifth metatarsal (foot bone along little toe side)
  • Around the femoral neck (hip)

The only way to know if you have a stress fracture is through an X-ray of the involved area; your physician may order a bone scan.

Causes
  • Low to normal load activities performed without enough rest
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Low-energy availability
  • Faulty mechanics
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic biomechanical factors
  • Amenorrhea, low bone density/osteoporosis and inadequate nutritional status – the female athlete triad

Symptoms
  • Pain during and sustained after activity
  • Pain that doesn't go away with rest
  • Pain at night
  • Ability to pinpoint the exact spot along the bone where the pain is
  • In some cases, persistent focal swelling at the site of pain

Treatment
  • Adequate rest is the best treatment strategy for a stress fracture.
  • Supportive footwear (e.g., sneakers).
  • Your physician may require that you immobilize the injured area to allow proper healing through rest.
  • If you have a longer second toe, padding the adjacent toes may help distribute forces evenly when en pointe.
  • Modify your dance-training schedule to reduce repetitive loads.
  • Seek consultation with your healthcare provider if you suspect the female athlete triad.
  • A kinetic chain examination is also advised.

Education Programs

Education programs

Educating the dancer is the first step toward maintaining wellness, preventing injuries and career longevity. Our team develops individualized workshops and offers education programs for the recreational and pre-professional dancer, including topics such as:
  • Anatomy and kinesiology
  • Core stability
  • Cross-training
  • Dance Wellness Screening
  • Foot and ankle class
  • Myofascial body release
  • Nutritional considerations for the performing artist
  • Onsite injury checks
  • Pointe readiness screening
  • Wellness and injury prevention for the adolescent dancer

If you are interested in attending one of our programs or would like us to develop an individualized workshop for your studio, please call us at 614-366-3600.

Our Research

Our research

In partnership with Ohio State's Sports Health & Performance Institute, our team conducts research to promote wellness in dancers. Through screenings and injury tracking, our research team has access to a diverse range of professional, collegiate, pre-professional and novice dancers across various genres, providing unique contributions to the field of performing arts medicine.

Making Pointe Count: Development of a dance wellness curriculum for high school credit

The typical pre-professional student dances up to 31.5 hours weekly. The intensity and difficulty increases during periods of rapid growth and there's a common belief that wellness education can help in injury prevention and career longevity. In collaboration with BalletMet Dancer’s Core Academic Program, our team developed a six-week curriculum that allowed students to receive high school credit for their dance education. In addition to the educational opportunity, it also provided insights for exploration of a career within performing arts outside of being a performer.

Multi-faceted turnout: Influence of Training Level, Measurement Method and Sex

Screening has become a recommended practice in dance medicine and injury surveillance can help identify causes of injury and guide preventative measures. Aspects of turnout and its measurement techniques have been examined and a relationship between turnout and nontraumatic injuries in dancers has been established. There's limited literature comparing turnout across level of dance training or by sex. Our research examined prospective cohort data from dance wellness screens. 

Our research sought to compare turnout using two measurement methods (rotation discs and floor protractor) to determine whether turnout differed by level of dance training or sex. Greater turnout angles were identified on the floor regardless of training level, when the friction of the floor may have aided positioning. Future analyses will aim to understand the relationships between injury risk and turnout asymmetries, across training level and dance genre.

Plié flexibility in dancers: differences between positions, measurement methods and limbs.

In order for dancers to perform plié, flexion of the foot (dorsiflexion) is necessary. Our research compared three different measurement methods: non-weight-bearing dorsiflexion, parallel plié, turned out plié to determine the measure method that captured the most functional ability as well as if the angle changed with age. In this study of 126 ballet academy students, we also found that dancers do not lose dorsiflexion overtime as previously found in another study. We also learned that the parallel plié position allows dancers to achieve greater closed chain ankle dorsiflexion than turned out plié and may be a more accurate reflection of their functional flexibility. Therefore it may be helpful in a screening or in the clinic to measure a dancer’s dorsiflexion angle in parallel plié so that you have a more accurate expectation of what their plié depth should return to during rehabilitation.

Iliotibial Band Tightness in Ballet and Modern Dancers

Ballet dancers train primarily in hip external rotation and abduction, while modern dancers use a variety of movement styles. Armed with the knowledge that illiotibial band (ITB) tightness is a predisposing factor for patellofemoral pain syndrome in ballet dancers, our research sought to examine and compare the prevalence ITB tightness in both populations. The analysis found 75% of modern dancers with ITB tightness had tightness bilaterally, and 59% of ballet dancers with ITB tightness had tightness bilaterally. The proportion of dancers with ITB tightness in at least one limb is significantly greater in modern dancers compared to ballet dancers. Results suggest that both genres of dancers may benefit from supplemental interventions to promote ITB flexibility, though modern dancers may benefit to a greater extent.

Why Ohio State?

Why choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for performing arts medicine?

Expertise: We provide workshops and injury checks for the central Ohio dance community and provide regular onsite medical coverage for performing artists and shows, including:
  • A Chorus Line
  • Ailey II
  • American Idiot
  • BalletMet Academy
  • BalletMet Columbus
  • Buckeye Gymnastics
  • Buckeye State Feis
  • Columbus Movement
  • Dance Theatre Harlem
  • Flashdance the Musical
  • Fort Hayes High School
  • Les Miserables
  • Locality 2012
  • Mary Poppins
  • Gym Extreme
  • OSU Department of Dance
  • OSU Marching Band
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Rock of Ages
  • The Lion King
  • Wicked
  • Young Frankenstein

Industry Partnerships: We have partnerships with the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, the American Physical Therapy Association, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the National Athletic Trainers Association, OhioDance, the Ohio Physical Therapy Association and OSU Medicine and the Arts.

Research: As part of our extensive research study, “The Use of Screenings and Injury Tracking to Promote Wellness in Dancers,” our Performing Arts Medicine research team is utilizing a wealth of information collected over a span of years from professional, collegiate, pre-professional and novice dancers across various genres to provide innovative patient care.

Involvement in the Performing Arts Community: Our staff is developing research initiatives with the OSU Wexner Medical Center’s Labs in Life at COSI and the MAPS program within The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Sports Medicine program to further progress in the science of performing arts medicine.

A closer look at Performing Arts Medicine

Getting Back To Dance

Pain can be easy to ignore when your performance is on the line

Gabriel Gaffney Smith shares his story, and how Ohio State Sports Medicine helped him recover and get back to his passion of dancing.

The Grand Jete

WOSU's Broad & High talks with BalletMet, physicists and sports medicine professionals to deconstruct the grand jete down to its barest essentials and discover what skills and athleticism it takes to successfully execute this move.

PerformingArtsMedicineExperts

Our Experts

Specialists in dance medicine and rehabilitation

(Left to right) Robin Hunter, DC; Mariah Nierman, PT, AT, OCS; Tiffany Marulli, PT; Claire Plummer, PT, AT; Lindsay Harmon-Matthews, PT; Thomas Best, MD, PhD; Samantha Winiesdorffer, PT; Lori Hilfinger; Hope Davis, AT; Kandis Maust, AT (not pictured); Michael Jonesco, DO (not pictured)

A Day in the Life of a Ballerina

See some of our work from the perspective of the artist

BalletMet dancer and Columbus native Samantha Lewis shows us what life is like as a ballet dancer, both on stage and off.

PAMDispatchArticlePic

It takes daily discipline for BalletMet dancer

12-hour snapshot of Jackson  Sarver points to rigors of crafting the body as a BalletMet dancer

Read more about the rigors of being a ballet dancer and how our team helps performers meet the demands of this art form

Performing Arts Medicine Team Leaders

Our leaders

HopeDavis

Hope Davis-Coen, AT

Co-Team Lead, Performing Arts Medicine

Hope Davis-Coen is a licensed athletic trainer specializing in dance medicine, manual therapy, functional training for performing artists and Pilates-based rehabilitation. She is the primary athletic trainer for BalletMet Columbus and Ohio State's Department of Dance.

Hope has provided backstage coverage to numerous dance companies and Broadway shows, presented dance education programs, facilitated pre-pointe screens and onsite treatments and published articles with Dance Magazine and American College of Sports Medicine.




MariahNierman

Mariah Nierman, PT, DPT, AT, OCS

Co-Team Lead, Performing Arts Medicine

Mariah Nierman danced for 15 years until college when her focus turned to the medical side of helping dancers stay healthy. She has a special interest in the adolescent and pre-professional dancer, working to prevent injury and promote dance wellness. In addition to treating general orthopedic patients, Mariah treats dancers in the clinic, assists in backstage coverage for dance performances, has presented a variety of dance wellness workshops, provides on-site care at OSU Department of Dance and serves on the Board of Directors for OhioDance.