First aid for dancers factsheet #14

In This Article

This information comes from St John’s Ambulance and the Dance UK Information Sheet Dancer’s First Aid Box. It is only for minor injuries. Always make sure that you have a well-stocked First Aid kit in the studio, classroom or theatre. If you have any doubts about the injury or treatment, seek professional advice as soon as possible.


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Treatment for minor dance injuries


Do not pierce. Surround with foam or felt ring. Secure with micropore (breathable) tape.

Bruises, strains and sprains

Remember R.I.C.E.

  1. Rest—stop performing if swollen or limping
  2. Ice—apply ice pack (wrapped in a wet cloth) for 15 minutes, every 2 hours for 24 hours, then for 15 minutes every 4 hours for the next 24 hours.
  3. Compress—apply elastic bandage, firmly to extend well beyond the injury (do not leave on overnight)
  4. Elevate—raise the limb so that the injured part is just above the level of the heart. Support an arm with a sling. Support small joint injuries with an elastic bandage.

Burns and grazes

  • as soon as possible hold burnt area under cold running water for up to 20 minutes
  • apply sterile, non-stick dressing (or aluminium foil, plastic wrap or a wet clean dressing)
  • if the burn is to the eye, flush eye with water for 20 minutes

Important: Do not apply lotions, ointment of fat to burns.

Corns and sore toes

Surround with ring of foam or felt padding and secure with micropore tape.

Cramp or tight muscles

If the area is very tender, treat as if for a sprain or strain. If the whole muscle is in spasm, try a slow stretch then massage, stroking towards the heart. In hot conditions beware of dehydration.

Cuts with excessive bleeding

Treat as if for shock i.e. keep warm, raise the bleeding area to above the level of the heart, keep hydrated, monitor pulse and breathing. Apply firm pressure and secure absorbent padding with bandage. Send to casualty as soon as possible.

Cuts with moderate bleeding

Remove surplus blood with clean swabs. Clean around wound with antiseptic wipes. If there is any dirt in wound, irrigate with saline solution. Close 'clean' cuts with sterile strips or thin strips of micropore tape and apply a non-adhesive dressing. Check for tetanus immunity.


If dislocation of a joint is suspected, immobilise, elevate (if possible) and apply ice. Call for an ambulance or get to a hospital as soon as possible.


Check temperature with thermometer. Rest and increase fluid intake (recent fever may cause fatigue and/or cramp).


If you suspect a break, call 000 for an ambulance or get to a hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime:

  • immobilise the area
  • apply broad bandages where possible at joints above and below the suspected fracture to prevent movement
  • support the limb, carefully passing bandages under the natural hollows of the body
  • place a padded splint (if available) along the injured limb (under the leg for fractured kneecap) and secure tightly with bandages
  • check that bandages are not too tight (area will turn blue) every 15 minutes
  • for a leg fracture, immobilise the foot and ankle and apply a figure of eight bandage.
  • for a collarbone break, support the arm with a sling

Nose bleeds

Blow nose once only. Pinch just below bony part for 10 minutes. Tilt head forward. If having difficulty in stopping bleeding, apply ice pack.


Clean with antiseptic wipe and remove with tweezers. Tape as necessary.


Organisations with more than five people should have a staff member with a current first-aid certificate. First-aid certificates are valid for three years. First-aiders should record all the cases they treat. Each record should include at least the name of the patient, date, time and circumstances of the accident, details of the injury and treatment given.

First aid kit

  • Adhesive micropore tape 2.5cm & 5cm – 1 roll x each
  • Antiseptic spray – 1 x 50ml bottle
  • Antiseptic wipes – 10
  • Bandages (gauze) 5cm & 10cm – 2 rolls each
  • Bandaids – small box
  • Elastoplast (narrow) – 1 roll
  • Elastoplast (wide) – 1 roll
  • Foam/felt pads – assorted
  • Gloves (disposable) – 1 box
  • Ice Packs (instant and reusable) – 5 (minimum)
  • Safety pins – 1 pk assorted
  • Sanitary pads & tampons – assorted
  • Scissors blunt ended –1 pair
  • Saline ampoules –10
  • Swabs, pre packed antiseptic – 1pk 10
  • Wound dressings (sterile, non-adherent) – 10 assorted
  • Thermometer – 1
  • Torch and batteries – 1 small
  • Triangular bandage/sling – 2
  • Tweezers – 1

Note: These quantities are recommendations only. Your kit should have extra supplies and you should replace all items at least once a year. Buy a St John's ambulance First Aid kit.


Dancer’s First Aid Box, Information Sheet Pub. Dance UK
St John Ambulance, ACT Office