F. A. Orth. A., FRACS (Ortho), MBBS (Sydney – hons 1st), B.Sc. (QLD – hons 1st), Dip. Ed. CIME (Certified Independent Medical Examiner) ABIME.
After gaining his medical degree from Sydney University in 2000, Dr. Letchford conducted his orthopaedic training in Queensland, and has since been admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.
In 2009 Dr. Letchford founded Pacific Orthopaedics, consulting with patients at the Pacific Private Day Hospital in Southport and performing surgery at the Pindara Private Hospital, Gold Coast Private Hospital and the newly opened Gold Coast Surgical Hospital.
Dr. Letchford is also regularly involved in orthopaedic registrar and medical student education and training at Bond University, Griffith University and the public hospital system.
Additionally, he presents at international conferences based upon his areas of developed expertise.
Born and raised in Queensland, Dr. Letchford has previously worked in the marine sciences, with extensive field work experience in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait, and at underground mines in Western Australia.
Dr Andrew Letchford from Pacific Orthopaedic
What types of injuries do you see in dancers?
There are not that many injuries in dancers that require surgery. The majority of injuries tend to be overuse injuries, versus trauma. Overuse injuries tend to respond better to rest and to retraining methods versus requiring surgery. Those that we see that require surgery would tend to be more traumatic injuries, and that would be in the knee.
The knee has complex arrangement of ligaments to maintain the tracking of the kneecap. The kneecap is really important in the overall function of the knee, in terms of achieving and maximising the power of the quadriceps muscle. Under stress and under load and under load in flexion, it puts a lot of pressure on the tracking mechanism and it can pop out laterally, or out to the side of the knee. If this becomes a recurrent issue then we need to try and either realign the rotation or use restraints to hold the kneecap and make it track more neutrally.
Traumatic injuries can occur in the presence of fatigue. So you want to try and avoid fatigue. You want to maintain good hydration to help with that. Proper warming up and cooling down type exercises are useful and obviously appropriate technique in dancing and appropriate rest.
I think the physios are pretty good in trying to initiate safety precautions and preventative management, right from the start, and I think that’s really important.
Something underappreciated, I think, is the stress and anxiety, of someone transitioning to full-time dancing, and trying to achieve a performance. Some sort of support in stress and anxiety levels helps someone maintain their peak and avoid the fatigue that might lead to a traumatic injury. I think, also, from my perspective, there are significant benefits in cross training. Cross training helps with maintaining balance and core strength and body control and helping people maintain the integrity of the whole musculoskeletal system, so that they can avoid an injury.
Dr. Andrew Letchford Orthopaedic Surgeon, F. A. Orth. A., FRACS (Ortho), MBBS (Sydney – Hons 1st), B.Sc. (QLD – hons 1st), Dip. Ed: Dr. Andrew Letchford is a specialist in hip and knee orthopaedic surgery, with a particular interest in arthroplasty (joint replacement), knee reconstructions, sports injuries and acute orthopaedic trauma. He also has a dancing daughter.