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Physical Rehabilitation for Performing Artists is Sometimes a Negotiated Plan, says Physiatrist Dr Espiritu McKay


The injured dancer needs to perform on closing night; the physiatrist may need to securely tape an ankle in exchange for a promise that this performance will be the last for a while.

Treating a performance artist for injury requires balancing the performer's need to be back on stage quickly with the physiatrist's need to ensure full rehabilitation that prevents further injury or long-term damage. Physiatrist Tracy Espiritu McKay, DO, said she often needs to strike a compromise with a patient who can't afford to stop work. She talked more about walking this fine line in a recent interview with Patient Care® and also described the multidisciplinary rehabilitation care for performing artists which could involve psychologists to help ameliorate performance anxiety.

Tracy Espiritu McKay, DO, is clinical assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York where she specializes in Performing Arts Medicine and Integrative Sports and Spine Medicine at NYU Langone Health. She is also the chair of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's Performing Arts Medicine Community.

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