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Musculoskeletal Injury in Professional Dancers

Prevalence and Associated Factors

An International Cross-Sectional Study

Jacobs, Craig L. BFA, DC, MSc; Cassidy, J. David PhD, DrMedSci; Côté, Pierre DC, PhD; Boyle, Eleanor PhD; Ramel, Eva PhD, RPT; Ammendolia, Carlo DC, PhD; Hartvigsen, Jan DC, PhD; Schwartz, Isabella MD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2017 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 153–160
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000314
Original Research

Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with injury in professional ballet and modern dancers, and assess if dancers are reporting their injuries and explore reasons for not reporting injuries.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Participants were recruited from nine professional ballet and modern dance companies in Canada, Denmark, Israel, and Sweden.

Participants: Professional ballet and modern dancers.

Independent Variables: Sociodemographic variables included age, sex, height, weight, and before-tax yearly or monthly income. Dance specific characteristics included number of years in present dance company, number of years dancing professionally, number of years dancing total, and rank in the company.

Main Outcome Measures: Self-reported injury and Self-Estimated Functional Inability because of Pain.

Results: A total of 260 dancers participated in the study with an overall response rate of 81%. The point prevalence of self-reported injury in professional ballet and modern dancers was 54.8% (95% CI, 47.7-62.1) and 46.3% (95% CI, 35.5-57.1), respectively. Number of years dancing professionally (OR = 4.4, 95% CI, 1.6-12.3) and rank (OR = 2.4, 95% CI, 1.2-4.8) were associated with injury in ballet dancers. More than 15% of all injured dancers had not reported their injury and their reasons for not reporting injury varied.

Conclusions: The prevalence of injury is high in professional dancers with a significant percentage not reporting their injuries for a variety of reasons. Number of years dancing and rank are associated with injury in professional ballet dancers.

*Artists' Health Centre Research Program, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

UOIT-CMCC Centre for the Study of Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

Division of Clinical Education, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College;

§Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research, Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark;

**Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada;

††Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden;

‡‡Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

§§Rebecca Macdonald Centre for Arthritis and Auto-Immune Diseases, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

¶¶Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and Clinical Biomechanics, Odense, Denmark; and

‖‖Rehabilitation Department, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Corresponding Author: Craig L. Jacobs, BFA, DC, MSc, FCCS(C), Division of Clinical Education, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 6100 Leslie St, Toronto, ON M2H 3J1 Canada (

The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the University Health Network Artists' Health Foundation, the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. We additionally thank the dancers and staff from the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Batsheva Dance Company and Ensemble, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Royal Swedish Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received December 15, 2014

Accepted December 18, 2015

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