Supporting Artistic Athletes

In Interviews
Published in Bendy Bodies with the Hypermobility MD | February 2022

Artistic athletes like dancers, gymnasts, and skaters require highly skilled medical care in order to maintain peak health while operating at an elite level. Understanding the unique demands placed on their bodies is crucial for their physicians. And when the artist is competing as part of a team – say, as an Olympic skater or gymnast, or as a company dancer – the artist doesn’t always have the luxury of choosing their team doctor.

Selina Shah, MD, has herself been a competitive swimmer and gymnast, as well as a professional salsa and Bollywood dancer. She’s served as team physician for both Team USA figure skating and artistic swimming, and sits down to talk with us about maintaining your health in a team setting.

Dr. Shah looks at why hypermobility can be a tremendous asset in some athletic fields, and hugely problematic in others. She explores the process of natural selection for artistic athletes and the secret to success at the elite level.

Looking at injuries that are common in hypermobile artistic athletes, Dr. Shah explains why it’s never too soon to address an issue. She discusses misconceptions about stubborn tendon problems in bendy bodies as well as what procedures to consider and which ones to avoid.

Dr. Shah shares ways for hypermobile athletes to communicate with a team doctor and trainer about their specific needs, and how to advocate for yourself in a team setting. Finally, she opens up about what research she’d like to see for hypermobile artistic athletes in the future.