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Thread: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?




  1. #1
    Advanced BHUZzer Darbla's Avatar
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    How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    For economic reasons, I'm considering giving up a gym membership where I work on dance stuff on a wooden floor to instead working out at another place that has concrete floors. I'm concerned that harder floor is going to be harder on leg joints. The only thing I can think to compensate for it is switch from ballet flats to padded sneakers, and then maybe when I get down to fine-tuning what I've been practicing to get it ready for performing, then practice it a few times without the sneakers.

    So what would you guys tell someone who's working out on harder flooring?


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    It leads to plantar faciatis, knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain. I wouldn't do it. I have quit and refused teaching gigs because of this.

    I can't tell you how many people I've known who have chronic plantar faciatis from having to work and stand on concrete floors all day -- my husband, several dance students, several friends.

    One friend, who works retail in a big box store with concrete floors, has been through round after round after round of steroid injections and other antiinflamatory treatments. She now has nerve damage in her feet and legs and doesn't know how/if it will heal. And she has bursitis, because once you have an injury, there are going to be a cascade of compensatory responses elsewhere. Shoes? Inserts? she's tried them all. She spends a ton of money on shoes that are supposed to be shock absorbing and still she is in constant pain. And she is only in her mid 30's.
    Hala Jamal and sharifeh like this.
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  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    I got shin splints from learning Scottish Highland dance on a concrete floor. It was so bad that even walking was extremely painful. My teacher was NOT helpful - she just said, "Well, then you're doing it wrong." (She was 18 years old, had won the world championship the year before, and was an awesome performer but a not-awesome teacher.)

    Eventually I learned that there are some techniques a person can do to minimize the injury, but it took a long time to figure that out and I had a lot of pain until then.

    It's hard to describe, but basically, as you do any kind of impact-oriented movement such as traveling moves, think about keeping your energy up, up, up, as if floating on air. Place your feet delicately on the floor, as if dancing carefully on thin ice or a gossamer-thin piece of glass.

    But my PRIMARY advice matches Sedonia's - don't do it! Even though I've learned techniques for minimizing the injury risk, I avoid concrete floors as much as possible.
    tahiradancer and Hala Jamal like this.


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    Footwear is a concern. Not everyone has thick enough calluses to dance barefoot on concrete, and finding a dance shoe that has the right sole texture for the surface is not always trivial. It's hard on the knees to dance on a floor that doesn't allow for comfortable turning.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    Well, just my personal experience. I teach on a floor that is just lineoleum over concrete . I teach two one-hour classes, back to back, once a week. Sometimes I rehearse for an hour after class also. I am over 60, but have basically healthy joints (lucky for me). I wear thick socks called cabin socks, they're quite cushy, with ballet flats. So far I haven't had a problem and I've been teaching there almost 3 years now. YMMV
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  6. #6
    Master BHUZzer Souzan's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    Years of showing and training dogs on concrete floors ruined my feet and knees. I have chronic PF and IT band syndrome. I find that weekend workshops where hotel ballrooms are just thin carpet over concrete end up being so painful I often just have to stop dancing and just sit down and take notes.

    My classes and practice at home are on wooden floors. And I keep my gym membership mainly so I can go and spend a couple of hours a week practicing on good floors with mirrors.

    Dance sneakers help a lot. For long workshops on concrete I wear ankle support. I also wear an ITB Syndrome band around the thigh right above my knees. That helps a lot. Since I have been using the ITB band for everything except performance my knees have never felt better.

    Do you have some place at home you can practice on hardwood floors or with some kind of cushioning?


  7. #7
    Master BHUZzer sabrinabellydancer's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    Don't do it, if at all possible. It can cause permanent injuries and damage.
    Please take good care of yourself. We only get one body to dance with...
    Sabrina Bellydancer, San Diego, California. Available worldwide. Workshops. Shows.


  8. #8
    Advanced BHUZzer jamielynn's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    So have any of ya'll put padding on your concrete floor for practice? Any cheap easy solutions?

    I have concrete floors in my studio and was doing an hour a day practice and started having pains. So I stopped practicing as much. I miss it and want to practice but don't want to ruin anything permanently.


  9. #9
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamielynn View Post
    So have any of ya'll put padding on your concrete floor for practice? Any cheap easy solutions?

    I have concrete floors in my studio and was doing an hour a day practice and started having pains. So I stopped practicing as much. I miss it and want to practice but don't want to ruin anything permanently.
    The very best option is to install a sprung floor. This is what I have in my home studio. These can be portable, so if you move to a new studio you can take it with you. You can get "click-down" wood flooring that snaps together. Like this: Stagestep: The Compass Floor System or this: Encore & Encore Elite Hardwood Dance Flooring with integrated sprung subfloor

    If that's not feasible for you, consider at least a padded floor surface such as this: Stagestep: Timestep Collection
    Zumarrad likes this.


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer Darbla's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    This has been phenomenally helpful! I am so glad I asked!

    The concrete is at my home, but I can also manage to workout outside on the grass (wearing sneakers). I'm going to try that awhile, and keep my gym membership for just a bit longer while I test this out.

    Thanks, guys!!!!


  11. #11
    Advanced BHUZzer kemintiri's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    I practice a lot on my driveway which is asphalt. I hose it down with the garden hose so it is not too sticky on the soles of my shoes. I wear sneakers with a thin sole and some heel cushioning and it is fine. Mind you, there isn't a lot of jumping around in my dancing.


  12. #12
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: How damaging to legs is dancing a lot on concrete?

    For my Highland practice, if I'm doing it at work on the concrete garage floor, I use those foam mats that snap together. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

    My dance teacher has platforms that she and her boyfriend built that she uses for lessons. They used 2x4s and plywood and it seems to work great. She has them on wheels so she stores them away and just rolls them out for lessons.


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