Pain along the back of your thigh when stretching your port de bras forward and contracting to come back up. You might also experience swelling (like a knot the size of a golf ball or baseball) and tenderness. In severe cases, there may be bruising.
The first 2–3 days, ice your hamstring for 15–20 minutes every 2–3 hours.
On the third day, begin lightly massaging your hamstring with your hands or use a foam roller to relax the muscle.
After the third day, begin contrasts—soak your muscle in a warm tub for 20 minutes, then ice for 10 minutes and repeat. This will increase circulation to help the injury heal more quickly.
Rest. If you only experience pain with extreme range of motion—like when you battement—just modify the exercises during class to avoid any extremes. But if you feel pain when walking, sitting or climbing stairs, take a few days off.
Apply a topical gel like arnica cream to help reduce swelling and speed up healing.
Ask your physical therapist to tape your hamstring with Kinesio tape to help support the muscle. If you don’t have access to a physical therapist, wrap the muscle diagonally with an ACE bandage or wear a compression sleeve over your hamstring.
Your hamstring will feel tight, so you’ll want to try to stretch it out. Don’t do it! Stretching the injured muscle will only put more strain on the fibers.
It’s time to see a doctor if you have bruising, your skin feels hot to the touch or you can’t put any weight on your injured leg.
Consultant: Michelle Rodriguez, MPT, OCS, CMPT, is the founder and director of Manhattan Physio Group and has worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and more.
Back to School Stress Relievers
Dr. Linda Hamilton, clinical psychologist and wellness consultant for New York City Ballet, shares three simple stress busters that will help you sail through the school day and rehearsal.
Pace yourself. You need to get back into dancing shape slowly. At the start of the school year, cross-train with Pilates or Gyrotonic and don’t overdo anything—it’s an easy way to get injured. Take class seriously, but listen to your body.
Take five deep, slow breaths. Your breathing tends to get shallow when you’re tense. Breathing deeply can counteract that immediate fight-or-flight response you feel when you’re stressed.
Use positive self-talk. At the end of each day, it’s useful to make a list of three things you did right instead of obsessing about what you did wrong. You don’t need to be overly critical of yourself to improve.
Did You Know?
High temperatures can cause medications such as aspirin to change chemically and become less effective or even dangerous. Make sure to store yours in a cool, dry place.
ART = HEALTH
Get yourself to the ballet ASAP for health and happiness! Researchers in Italy asked stroke survivors if they liked music, painting or theater, and investigated their quality of life. Those who said they enjoyed art were happier, healthier and more energetic than those who said they did not, and they recovered better. According to the study, experiencing art may make long-term changes in your brain, which could help
it recover from trauma in the future. —Gretchen Schmid
Your parents were right when they told you to eat your broccoli! Not only is it packed with vitamins, it also contains sulforaphane, a compound that can help prevent cancer.