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Helping dancers safely dance up a storm

For Immediate Release: October 2, 2014

Contact Information:
Cathy Hoover-Smith, CEO and Founder, (508) 832-2628

AUBURN _ For many children and adolescents taking dance lessons is a big part of their autumnal back-to-school routine with thousands of students heading back to dance studios across the country.

Studies have shown that dance is one of the best sports for children to build muscle, burn fat, elevate heart rates, and develop self-confidence and self-discipline; however, it’s vitally important for children and adolescents to learn proper dancing and stretching techniques in order to dance safely and avoid dance related injuries.

A 16-year study by the Center for Injury & Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital estimated that 113,000 children and adolescents were treated for dance related injuries in U.S. emergency departments. Statistics show that upwards of 80 percent of dancers sustain at least one injury a year that affects their ability to perform, with the vast majority of those injuries resulting from overuse rather than trauma.

Those statistics are not surprising to the professionals at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT). For three decades, SCPT has been in the forefront of dance medicine and rehabilitation, treating dancers in the Central Massachusetts area, and counseling them on ways to prevent injuries from occurring or re-occurring.

“We have a broad range of dancers who we work with, from the extremely serious to the more casual dancer,” said SCPT CEO and Founder Cathy Hoover-Smith. “Our dance therapists give each dancer the tools and techniques they need in order to keep dancing safely.”

SCPT physical therapists use the latest information and proven techniques from the International Academy of Dance, with the goal of facilitating an injured dancer’s return to dancing as soon, and as safely, as possible.

“We always try to keep dancers dancing whenever we can, by using proven techniques and rehabilitation that is unique to a dancer,” said SCPT Physical Therapist Tara Colorio. “We also discuss preventative measures that can be taken to circumvent an injury from happening.”

SCPT therapists offer dancers guidance on technical skill improvements, dance and strength conditioning, identify risk factors for injury, and recommend ways to prevent future injuries.  Some of these include when and how static stretching is appropriate, how to walk correctly, proper nutrition, cross-training, and improving dancers’ turnout safely and correctly (turnout is the rotation of the leg which comes from the hips, causing the knee and foot to turn outward, away from the center of the body. This rotation allows for greater extension of the leg, especially when raising it to the side and rear).

“Having five champion dancers who have participated in the World Irish Dancing Championships, I know the importance of keeping up their health,” said parent Paula Murphy. “Eight days prior to the World Irish Dancing Championships, one of my daughters seriously sprained her ankle. Cathy Smith and her staff worked diligently with my daughter and the other dancers to be sure they were prepared for the Worlds. Because of the physical therapy treatment provided by SCPT and my daughter’s conditioning, she was not only able to compete in the Worlds, but she received a placement and won a recall medal.”

In addition to dancers of every genre, SCPT therapists treat gymnasts, members of the Performing Arts Community, and cheerleaders.

“Many of our therapists were dancers, gymnasts or cheerleaders, so they know firsthand the injuries that can occur,” Colorio said.  “We have five therapists who work directly in the Dance Medicine program and several others who help out as needed.”

SCPT gives frequent lectures on dance injury prevention and common dance injuries.

“We can do a complimentary lecture and address issues and topics tailored toward a specific group,” Colorio said, adding, “We also offer free half hour dance screenings to check for range of motion, strength, posture, and balance, and can do them at our clinic, or at the dance studio themselves.  Foot assessments are also available at our clinic.”

To learn more about SCPT’s Dance Medicine program, or to schedule a free lecture or free dance screening, call 508-832-2628, or visit

For 30 years, South County Physical Therapy, Inc. has been dedicated to providing its patients with quality, personalized rehabilitative care in an environment that is safe, comfortable and compassionate. As a privately owned company, the organization has given back to numerous charitable organizations in the communities it serves, and seeks to make a difference in promoting wellness and health awareness.

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