Category: Blog

Dance Clinic Birmingham’s ‘Zero Line’ methodology

Dance injuries and the Zero Line philosophy.


With over 600 muscles, 206 bones and countless ligaments and tendons, a dancer will inevitably suffer an injury eventually. The hours of practice and physical stress placed on the body is hugely demanding. Injuries occur suddenly like pulled muscles or as a result of repetitive stress, Tendinitis for example.


Ballet injuries are very common due to the need for females to wear pointe shoes and place their entire weight on their toes. Doing so puts significant demand on the muscles stabilising the ankle as well as the foot itself. This regularly results in stress fractures and ankle sprains. Even minor problems can become something more severe if not addressed quickly and managed going forward.


Ankle Sprain


Ankle sprains are the most common dance injury, varying widely in severity. From a stretch, causing minor instability, requiring a few days rest. To a complete tear causing complete instability and requiring 2-6 weeks rest and ongoing treatment. This unpredictability means that having the right physician is as important as having the right dance instructor. Early diagnosis and correct treatment can massively decrease the risk of long term complications. To do just this Dance Clinic works to their Zero Line Philosophy to get you safely back to the things you love doing.


Dance Clinic Experience


Perfect body balance is incredibly important in creating and maintaining an injury free status.  The Zero Line Is the neutral line of posture which is lost when injuries occur. Dance Clinic have 70,000 hours experience in treating dancers and other athletes with sports or general soft tissue injuries and/or bio-mechanical problems arising from strains, sprains and impact injuries. Dance Clinic has found that most people are around 12-15% away from their perfect posture. Enough to cause pain or injury from everyday activities. Due to the demands of the profession, dancers should be managed to a maximum of 7% from Zero Line. At Dance Clinic however, 7% is the starting point from which to condition, strengthen and prevent further injury. Attempting to return the body to its natural postural alignment and structural balance.


Imbalance, misalignment and loss of functionality are identified. Associated tensions and activity levels then reveal the injury source. The problem is diagnosed and appropriate treatment and maintenance is delivered. The Dance Clinic’s Zero Line approach prevents disruption to routine and training. It makes the most of opportunities to resolve and prevent issues. Prevention after all is better than cure.


Darryl Canham

Dance Clinic Birmingham

Foot and Ankle Injuries. Dancers beware!

Foot and ankle injuries

Feet are what gets us from A to B. They represent the body’s first point of contact with the ground, taking the main load of all weight and force exerted by the body. The muscles surrounding the feet and ankles were designed for both movement and force exertion, within limits. Feet and ankles were definitely not designed to take the magnitude of stress put upon them by a dancer’s life. Playing any sport or performing consistent physical activity puts you at a much higher risk for faulty foot mechanics. Hence why injuries to the feet and ankles are so prevalent within the dance world .

Ankle sprain

Ian ankle sprain is the most common form of dance injury. It is caused by movement that forces the ankle outside of the normal range of motion. Pain is usually felt along the outer side of the ankle along with differing degrees of swelling. Post sprain, the ligaments will never heal to a pre-injury level. Strength and control must be improved in order to prevent re-injury.

Achilles tendinitis

Is inflammation of the tendon in the back of the ankle that connects the prime mover for pointing, to your foot. It causes pain and swelling in the back side of your heel when you put weight on it. You may also experience tight calf muscles and limited range when flexing your foot. It regularly occurs from over-use or improper technique.

Trigger toe

For dancers, Trigger Toe is another classic overuse injury. This causes inflammation and damage to the muscle which is responsible for pointing the big toe. It manifests as pain along the inside of the ankle and under the foot whilst pointing the big toe

Ankle Impingement

Is the pinching of tissues at either the front or the back of the ankle. It is caused by repetitive stress from jumps or squats, or because the ankle is already unstable. Pain around the ankle can be felt with plié and landing.

The impact of injury

Foot and ankle injuries detrimentally effect the joints, tendons, ligaments and surrounding connective tissues. Then the shock absorbing capabilities of the lower body are significantly lowered. This promotes greater potential for injury from head to toe. Every dancer should have thorough, regular and specific assessments of their foot mechanics. This will both treat and prevent injuries. Strengthening exercises help to maintain balance and neutral alignment of the foot and ankle. This ensures stability, flexibility, function and power.

For a thorough assessment of your foot and ankle contact Phil at Dance Clinic. With over 25 years treating professional dancers from all styles, he is well placed to provide you with an experienced point of view.

Welcome to the brand new Dance Clinic website

We are looking forward to working with some of the countries best and most established dance companies and dancers.

Already this month we’re heading to London to perform assessments and develop programmes for ballroom and contemporary dance schools. It is a privilege to be working with established pairs and helping them prepare for major championships, as well as helping the youth develop their strength and conditioning programmes to prevent injury and develop a body resilient to the great demands of dance performance and competition. Our philosophy is very much that prevention is better than cure and we shall be encouraging our clients to be ahead of the game for their own gain and for the wellbeing of their dancers.