So there’s the “hair and make-up” emergency must-have kit. There’s the “rebuild your pointe shoes anywhere” must-have kit. There’s even the “tape and scrape that costume back together” kit. It’s up to you how much you really want to lug every where you go, but my recommendations here are for emergency use.
That’s right – those times we never wish would happen, but sometimes do. The trip and fall, the ankle tweak, the shoulder strain, the nerve pinch in the neck, the blister (or worse yet – the blister tear). Wince all you want – it happens! And never at a good time either. The best response to something like this is a quick one. It could be the difference between a short-term recovery or a long term one. And who has time for that!
My recommendations here are all easy to find – Rite-Aid/CVS/Walgreens, 99cent store, and/or Target should just about cover it. And you can get all 5 for about $50.
1. Blister Band Aids
These are magical! They stay on even when dancing bare foot. Avoid letting those blisters tear, get infected, or linger. These are waterproof and let me tell you, you won’t find it in the middle of the studio at the end of rehearsal.
2. Instant Ice Pack
If ANY injury happens, the first thing you’ll want to do is break open this instant ice pack to stop the swelling. Getting this on an injury fast and you will save yourself a lot of recovery time and pain! Ice for 15 minutes, and then wrap (see #3). Get another source of ice soon as you’ll want to ice again in about 20-30 minutes. This can be a cold tap if nothing else is available for a while. Do not use cooling topical creams or analgesics.
3. Ace Bandage
This stretchy wrap is wonderful to help hold your ice pack in place. Then you can use it to immobilize the area that was injured. By wrapping it somewhat tightly, you also add compression to the area which will help keep swelling down. Elevate the injured area.
4. Tennis Ball
Tried and true – nothing works out a spasm, foot cramp, strain – better than a tennis ball. There are some votes out there for hard balls like lacrosse balls and golf balls. However these are better for pressure points and should be used in consultation with a practitioner because overuse or the wrong use can lead to swelling and injury. Tennis balls have just the right amount of firm pressure with buoyancy that you can work it into a spot that’s gotten too tight, too fast. Use these to work out a cramp quickly, so you are keeping blood flow moving through the area so it will heal faster and not progress or cause too much compensation.
5. Personal Water Filtering Bottle
This is a great technological advance - filtered water, anywhere there’s a spigot or a sink. While this might be a bit of a surprise to be in a top five, think about it. As dancers, we need to be hydrated! You don’t want to be without water for very long and if you run out in the wrong situation – a long rehearsal, hot studio, forgot your Aquafina in your car – you could experience the side effects of dehydration which include dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramping, fatigue, and more. Be on the safe side and have this in your bag for a back-up!
(Nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. In the case of an emergency, access professional medical help.)