THON weekend is coming up at Penn State in February 2020. Also known as the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, it is a 46-hour event, and all Penn State students are eligible to register. There is a worthy purpose behind THON. Prior to the event, organizers work to raise awareness of and funds for the fight against childhood cancer for a year. THON is the culmination of their annual efforts.
However, because THON rules prevent you from either sleeping or sitting while the marathon is going on, you may be at risk for dance-related injury. There are prevention steps that you can take, but it may also be a good idea to prepare to administer first aid if you or another dancer suffers an injury during THON.
Common dance injuries
Dancers may be susceptible to several traumatic injuries during THON. The most common traumatic injury from dancing is an ankle sprain. Sprains may occur due to ill-fitting shoes, rolling of the ankles or landing improperly from a jump. Stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle can result in a sprain.
Whether during your training or dancing in THON itself, you may also be at risk for stress fractures. These can occur in the lumbar spine, feet and shins. The more time you spend training or dancing per day, the greater your risk of developing stress fractures.
There are steps you can take to prevent your risk of injury while training or during the actual dance marathon:
- Warming up before any dance session
- Wearing appropriate clothing and shoes
- Getting plenty of rest before THON
- Leading a healthy lifestyle, including staying hydrated and eating well
A sprain or another traumatic injury may cause swelling. You can reduce the swelling by applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Compression with elastic bandages can also help control the swelling. However, you should only apply these after an injury, not use them for support while you are dancing. You should avoid bearing weight on an ankle or wrist that is acutely painful and see a doctor as soon as possible for evaluation.