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A Descriptive Study on Injury Prevalence Among Female Ballet, Jazz, and Modern Dancers

Reynolds, Meghan PT, DPT1; Kerchief, Brittney PT, DPT2; Boyce, David EdD, PT, ECS, OCS3

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: May/August 2013 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 83–90
doi: 10.1097/JWH.0b013e31829da683
Research Report

Objective: To provide a descriptive analysis of injury frequency and location among ballet, jazz, and modern dancers. Analysis of years of dance experience, practice hours, and training methods were examined.

Study Design: Prospective cross-sectional survey.

Background: Body type, biomechanical demands, and choreography differ among ballet, jazz, and modern dancers. Research related to injuries in ballet dancers is commonplace; however, minimal research exists related to injury frequency and location in jazz and modern dancers.

Methods and Measures: Ballet, jazz, and modern female dancers between ages 14 and 22 years old were randomly selected to complete a survey allowing for the collection of data. Two hundred surveys were sent out, and 72 surveys were received. Sixty surveys, 20 from each category of dance, were chosen.

Results: This study found differences in injury frequency, with modern dancers having the highest injury frequency. Jazz and ballet dancers experienced an injury frequency pattern of distal to proximal joints, whereas modern dancers experienced a proximal to distal pattern. Lower extremity injuries were more common than upper extremity injuries across all dance types. Body mass index and conditioning do not appear to influence injury frequency.

Conclusions: Injury frequency and location cannot be generalized to all styles of dance. There are some common injury patterns across all 3 dance types. There are also specific injury patterns typical to a specific dance type. This study provides valuable information that can be used in the areas of dance injury identification, prevention, and education.

1Rudy J Ellis Sports Medicine Clinic, Louisville, Kentucky.

2Genesis Rehab Services, Brazil, Indiana.

3Physical Therapy Plus, Louisville, Kentucky.

The authors thank all of the dancers who voluntarily participated in this study. They also thank the various studios and schools that helped distribute surveys throughout the Midwest region. Finally, they thank Dr Gina Pariser for her guidance and contributions to this article.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the Section on Women's Health, American Physical Therapy Association.
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