Common Pole Dancing Injuries and What To Do

Dre Dee —  July 21, 2014 — 8 Comments

by Dre Dee

No matter how carefully you warm up, or how much you stretch after you’re done with your pole dancing workout, you’re bound to injure yourself at some point while doing pole tricks. Although injury is inevitable, how you care for your injury can make all the difference in whether the injury heals or becomes an ongoing problem.

Here are some common issues strippers and pole dancers face when working the pole and how to care for them.*

1) Pulled Muscle (Muscle Strain)

Muscle strain is usually an acute injury (meaning the onset is sudden) and occurs when a muscle is torn. Strains are usually caused from stretching a muscle too far, but can also be caused by exerting the muscle too forcefully, such as lifting something too heavy or pulling too forcefully. In pole, commonly pulled muscles include muscles of the neck, upper back, and arms.

What it feels like: Pain from a muscle strain is usually present right after the injury occurs and is sharp. The severity of pain can range from mild to severe. In more severe strains, bruising and swelling can occur.

What to do:

– Rest the injured area for 1-5 days, depending on how badly the muscle was injured and pain level.

– Consider an anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling and pain. Ibuprofen is a common anti-inflammatory and I’ve been told to take 600 mg in order to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Your dosage should be determined by your doctor as dosages can be different for different people. Generally, you should not take more than 2400 mg per day. Taking Ibuprofen with milk or food can avoid stomach issues that can occur.

– Avoid immobilizing the injury – gentle active range of motion and stretching with little to no pain is best. Be sure to move the injured area slowly and avoid movements that increase or cause pain.

2) Tendon or Ligament Strains

Tendon or ligament strains are generally more serious than muscle strains because ligaments and tendons take longer to heal. Tendons and ligaments connect muscle or bone to bone and have less blood flow to them than muscles do – this is why they take longer to heal. The length of time it takes for tendons or ligaments to heal obviously depends on how badly they were injured, where in the body they are located, and how much they are used during the healing process. Generally, it should take 4-6 weeks to heal if rested and stretched properly.

What to do:

The course of treatment for tendon or ligament strains can vary greatly. Generally, right after the injury RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) is the best way to reduce initial inflammation. After inflammation subsides, alternating heat and cold, gentle stretching and active range of motion are best.

3) Wrist Pain

Wrist pain is very common in pole for obvious reasons, and is also a common symptom of floor work. To prevent wrist pain, remember to always warm up your wrists before doing any level of pole and stretch them afterwards.  Also try to distribute your weight evenly when placing your hands flat on the stage.

What to do:

Follow the RICE protocol as long as pain and/or inflammation is present (Rest Ice Compression Elevation). Depending on what is injured, it may take a couple days to a few weeks for pain to completely go away. An elastic wrist support is a good way to provide compression and reduce inflammation, especially if you have to continue using the wrist. Be careful not to leave a wrist support on for too long though.

One type of wrist injury is nerve compression. There are three nerves in the wrist – the ulnar, median, and radial nerves.

Compression of the ulnar nerve is common in the bottom hand in bracket or split grips. Tingling or numbness are usually signs of a nerve compression or issue. The best thing to do is to avoid movements that are going to cause further compression, follow RICE protocol, and give the nerve enough time to heal before attempting further activity.

Performing gentle wrist stretches and active range of motion may also help. It is important to have ongoing or persistent pain in the wrist looked at by a doctor.

For All Injuries:

Remember to take it slow as you return to activities and work on strengthening and stretching the affected area gradually. Once fully healed, it is important to continue to strengthen and stretch the injured area to avoid future injuries.

Do you have an injury you have a question about? E-mail me.

Also, don’t forget to check the site later as I add more info!


*Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before taking any medications or following this or any medical advice. A doctor is the only one qualified to diagnose your injury and decide on treatment.

Dre Dee


Dre Dee attended her first pole dance class in 2010 as a joke but was immediately inspired by the strength, flexibility, and fluidity that pole requires. Although she has never been a stripper, pole dancing provides her an outlet for artistic and sexual expression. She started performing pole in 2012 and competed in her first pole competition in 2014. With a background as a healthcare professional, she has always had a passion for helping others and began teaching pole dance in 2013. She enjoys empowering women and giving them confidence through dance and fitness. Her specialty areas include floorwork and spinning pole. In addition, Dre holds a Master of Health Sciences degree, is a yoga instructor, and is also a certified personal trainer. She is highly trained in anatomy and neurology and believes in a holistic approach to fitness. Dre resides in southern California and in addition to pole, enjoys cooking, surfing, interval training, beach yoga, and riding motorcycles. You can contact her for lessons: or follow her on Instagram: dredee1983 or Facebook:

8 responses to Common Pole Dancing Injuries and What To Do


    stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed your stories. I own a management company with twenty girls/ guys and get to hear stories like yours all the time. Your a great writer, and keep me entertained, keep it up!


    The doctor who invented RICE, Dr. Gabe Merkin, has actually changed his stance and doesn’t think icing is a good idea at all. In fact, heat is what should be used to help injuries heal


      Hi Kat, thanks for the info! Although one should always follow the advice of a doctor first and foremost, I personally still generally recommend icing, especially for injuries that show inflammation. My information is based on working as an occupational therapist with hundreds of people with all kinds of different injuries over the last nine years as well as the evidence based education I received during my therapy training and continuing education I have done since then. Not to mention, I have also healed myself from numerous injuries including bursitis from a motorcycle accident, rotator cuff damage, and a shoulder impingement. I think it’s important to take in all available information and research and base clinical judgment off that versus the research or opinion of one person. But certainly yes, there may be times when heat can be more effective than ice – for example, I find heat can be more effective on pulled muscles sometimes. 🙂


    Kat, that was a very interesting article thanks for sharing. No where in the article does it suggest heat instead of ice Dee Dee, did you read it? Anyway it is true that even physiotherapists still like to ice to bring down inflammation and there is no doubt it still has its uses like abating bruising and helping with pain relief. However moving the sprain/strain makes a lot of sense to me too. Getting blood flow to it and helping to shift the fluid build up so that real healing get started. Interesting stuff thanks for talking about it.


    Hello, I am so glad I found this! For months I have been working on an Indian princess into a superwoman (I hear every studio has their own names for things) and I have had shooting pain on the outer part of my arm. I have been able to figure out that it’s mostly coming from the elbow, and only on the bottom hand when it is in bracket position. I let it rest for a few weeks and finally was able to get it, but the pain has since come back and I’m worries beyond belief that I will have to give up pole. I’m also a hairstylist, so I’m always on the lookout for carpal tunnel or even tendonitis. I’ve been sleeping with braces around my wrist, is there anything else besides RICE that you might think of? I was worried I was the only one having this problem!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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