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Dance Medicine

What is Dance Medicine?

Dance places unique demands on the body, mind, and spirit. A physical therapist with a background in dance performance, dance education, and dance medicine is uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of treating and helping to prevent dance injuries. At Shift, we treat not only the current condition, but we also look at the whole person to see what postural, gait, technique, or lifestyle issues may be predisposing the dancer to injury or preventing the dancer from achieving better results in her/his movement.

What to Expect

During your evaluation, your physical therapist will look at your alignment, range of motion, strength, balance, footwear, and dance technique to best understand the cause and contributing factors related to the pain or difficulty that you are experiencing. You can help your physical therapist by noticing what movements are most difficult or painful for you in class or rehearsal. It is also helpful to bring any shoes, inserts, or special equipment you use for class or performance with you to your appointment.


Treatment will usually include manual therapy to restore healthy joint and soft tissue range of motion, therapeutic exercises to target particular areas of weakness identified in your evaluation, and dance-specific training to help you refine your technique in ways that can reduce pain and support your growth as a dancer.

Common Conditions We Treat for Dancers

  • Scoliosis
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Herniated Discs
  • Neck Pain
  • Rotator Cuff tear/strain
  • Sciatica
  • Hip Labrum Tears
  • Hamstring tear/strain
  • Anterior Hip Impingement
  • Patellofemoral Pain
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  • ACL tear conservative management or pre-op and post-op rehabilitation
  • Meniscus tear conservative management or post-op rehabilitation
  • Patellar tendinitis
  • Calf tear/strain
  • Shin Splints
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Posterior Tibial Tendinopathy
  • FHL Tendinopathy
  • Anterior or Posterior ankle impingement
  • Ankle sprain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Hallux Limitus and Hallux Rigidus
  • Bunion pain or post-op bunionectomy
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Sesamoiditis


About Heather

Heather Mims, PT, DPT, PMA®-CPT
Physical Therapist, Doctor of Physical Therapy, PMA® Certified Pilates Instructor

Heather offers a Dance and Pilates-based approach to physical therapy rehabilitation and wellness that is also informed by her many years of teaching dance and creative movement. She blends the mind-body awareness, conscious control, and focus that are emphasized in the Pilates Method with hands-on manual therapy techniques for release of myofascial and joint restrictions to allow each patient to discover freedom of movement, healthier biomechanics, and functional stability.Heather’s 20+ years as a dancer and choreographer, 11 years teaching Pilates, and 10 years of yoga practice have enabled her to develop a unique approach to incorporating breath, core strength, and somatic awareness into her patients’ rehabilitation. She is particularly interested in the role of posture, proximal hip, and core strength for prevention of injury in runners, dancers, yogis, and athletes. In addition to dance, Pilates, and yoga, she also enjoys skiing, rock climbing, and hiking.


Doctor of Physical Therapy, Hunter College
MFA Dance, Ohio State University
BFA Dance, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Certified Pilates Instructor, PhysicalMind Institute

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