Dance is highly demanding and requires extraordinary flexibility, balance, power and endurance. To properly execute movements, the dancer assumes positions that place excess stress on bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, thus leading to high injury rates. The majority of injuries are due to overuse or misuse with one-third attributed to trauma. Young dancers, in their growth spurt, are particularly susceptible to injury. Anna Reiser, DPT at Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation in the Irvine/Lake Forest clinic, is a lifelong dancer who grew up in south Orange County. She earned a B.F.A. in dance and a B.S. in biological sciences at UCI. She obtained her doctorate in physical therapy from the nationally ranked Northern Arizona University. Her capstone project focused on understanding and optimizing the hypermobile dancer. She understands the complex movement patterns of dance and offers individualized evidence-based treatment programs combined with clinical experience for the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries.

Specialized physical therapy care for:

  • Musculoskeletal Issues:
    •      Foot, Ankle, Knee, Wrist, Elbow, Shoulder & Hip
  • Muscle, Tendon, Ligament – Sprain, Strains & Tears
  • Analysis of Movement Patterns
  • Manual Therapy (joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, MET) to restore alignment and address muscle imbalance.
  • Strength Training, Conditioning & Stabilization
  • Power, Endurance, Coordination & Motor Control Performance Optimization
  • Concussion Rehabilitation
  • Injury Prevention Programs
  • Joint Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

5 tips for dance injury prevention 

  1. It is important to warm up before dancing, however, stretching cold muscles before warming up can actually lead to injury
  2. Cross-training can help prevent injuries (i.e.: swimming, pilates, etc). Pilates can help develop and strengthen core muscles that are crucial for dancing. Swimming is an aerobic exercise that will help build endurance and compliments the techniques used in dance.
  3. Get a pre-pointe evaluation before starting pointe work. En pointe is very demanding and the body needs to have sufficiently matured with adequate bone development before proceeding.  Other factors include:  basic ballet technique, specific strength and mobility of the feet and ankles, turnout, balance, alignment, and core control.
  4. Avoid starting pointe too early (>age 12)
  5. Don’t dance through the pain. Get in touch with a health care professional to avoid serious injury.

Meet Anna Reiser, DPT 

Anna Reiser, DPT
Anna Reiser, DPT


  • Dance Injury Prevention & Rehab
  • Sports Injuries & Orthopedics
  • Movement Disorders
  • SI Joint Dysfunction
  • Joint Hypermobility/EDS

A native of South Orange County and lifelong dancer, Anna earned a double major at UCI with a BS in biologic science and a BFA in dance performance combining her passions for biology and dance. She completed her doctorate of physical therapy at the nationally ranked University of Northern Arizona.

While at NAU, Anna studied the connections between connective tissue disorders, hypermobility syndromes, and dance injuries for her capstone project, sparking an ongoing interest that she has carried into her current practice.

Anna attended Aliso Niguel High School and danced at the Maple Conservatory in Irvine. She continued her training and performing in the dance department at UC Irvine. For her senior thesis at she choreographed an original dance concert inspired by a class she took in neurobiology of learning and memory.

In her freshman year of high school, she developed an interest in biology and wanted to find a career to combine that with her love of dance. UCI, which has a highly regarded dance program, offered her that opportunity with a double major. She has always been fascinated by the movement of the human body and began learning more about physical therapy as an aide during college. After graduation, she knew for sure I wanted to be a PT to help people decrease their pain, learn more about their bodies, and return to doing the things they love.

She says her favorite discipline is ballet, but she has also been trained in modern, contemporary, jazz, tap, and musical theatre. A highlight of her training was attending the Radio City Rockettes summer intensive program in New York City. She continues to take dance classes when able. During her time in Flagstaff, obtaining her DPT she was able to teach dance classes and hopes to continue that effort with lectures and instructions on dance injury prevention and rehabilitation.

In addition to dance, Anna will provide treatments for orthopedic and sports injury rehab, chronic pain, SI joint dysfunction along with neurological rehab for movement disorders. With a teamwork approach to her patients, she feels it’s important to understand their goals in the rehab process and designing personalized treatment plans.

“I believe in listening to a patient’s story and treating them as a whole person, not just their impairment,” she said. “I see the patient and therapist as a team, working together to identify the problems and then finding creative solutions. It’s important for the patients to feel better and understand their pain and how they can take an active role in their recovery.”

If you are a dancer, please call us and ask about our

Complimentary Assessment Program for Pain, Weakness & Range of Motion

Contact Irvine/Lake Forest Clinic:  949.750.8499

Where Does it Hurt? We Can Help!

Low Back/Lumbar

If you have low back pain, you are not alone. At any given time, about 25% of people in the United States report having low back pain within the past three months. In most cases, low back pain is mild and disappears on its own.

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The neck is less protected than the rest of the spine and can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that produce pain and restrict motion often affecting everyday activities. For many, it is a temporary condition disappearing with time.

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The thoracic spine encompasses the upper- and middle-back region and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades. Although it is solidly constructed and relatively stable, it can also be a source of pain.

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The shoulder is not a very stable type of joint and tends to be easily injured. Pain can arise from problems with instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bony structure. Injuries can occur while performing manual labor, playing sports, or very often by repetitive movements.

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Hip and Groin

The hip is a ball and socket joint designed to withstand repeated motion, but can become damanged due to overuse or injury. A groin strain is an overstretch or tearing injury to the muscles of the inner thigh or front of the hip

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Knee pain can restrict movement, affect muscle control in the sore leg, and reduce the strength and endurance of the muscles that support the knee. The most common disease affecting the knee is osteoarthritis.

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The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. With proper detection, intervention, and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented. Calf injuries usually occur as a result of a sudden pushing off movement or from excessive over-stretching.

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Pain in the hand, wrist, elbow or fingers is generally caused by repetitive motions, overuse, or an underlying condition like arthritis or tendonitis. It is a very common complaint. Injuries can also occur during accidents or activities.

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Many children and adults suffer from chronic jaw and facial pain. Jaw pain can happen all of a sudden, or it can start off mild and become more intense over time. Identifying the underlying issue is the first step in treating this condition.

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