Interestingly we have been seeing more dancers coming in lately with pain at the front of their knees after having landed a knee drop incorrectly or after having to do them repetitively in rehearsals. Knee drops are popular in choreography however if not taught correctly can lead to the dancer landing heavily right on top of the knee cap which creates a large vertical force going through the joint. The pain is usually accompanied with bruising/discolouration and swelling around the knee caps.
Wearing knee pads can significantly reduce the amount of force going through the knee and will not only help decrease pain for the dancer but will hopefully prevent injuries. If you currently have a sore knee from a knee drop the best way to help manage it is to:
a) Ask your teacher to show you how to land them properly – often just changing your technique will make a big difference
b) Mark the knee drop instead of doing it completely and explain to your teacher you are in pain
c) Avoid repetitive knee drops: often just doing one or two is ok, but when you have to do the chore over and over again, it’s best to mark through the knee drop
d) See your dance physio for taping techniques and exercises which may help with your pain and improve recovery times
So YES – we do recommend you wear knee pads, particularly if you have had pain at the front of your knees before. We encourage more dance schools to incorporate them into classes and suggest their dancers wear them to help prevent injuries which of course will mean better performances and less down time! We did a quick search online and found that knee pads are available from Energetiks, Capezio and Bloch (just to name a few) and they range from just $20-$30.
We only get one set of knees, so its best to treat them right when you are young!