Ballet dancers face high risk of injury

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Ballet dancers are exposed to a high risk of injury compared to other adolescent athletes, a study shows.

The study, co-authored by Christina Ekegren from Monash University, involved more than 260 elite ballet students from three pre-professional ballet schools in London. 

The aim of the study was to evaluate the rates and risks of injuries, the amount of time students spent dancing, and the consequence of injuries for the dancers.

Ms Ekegren, from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, said the study found that 76% of the dancers were injured over a one-year period.

“Seventy-two per cent of injuries were because of overuse, with the remaining injuries caused by a traumatic incident,” Ms Ekegren said.

“Overuse injuries often result from a high amount of training or underestimating the amount of time needed to recover.”

Ms Ekegren said ankles were the most commonly injured part of the body.

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“Dance is one of the most physically demanding activities undertaken by young people. In comparison to other adolescent athletes, ballet dancers have a high risk of injury.

“We recommend that dancers are educated on the importance of recovery time, and clinicians and teachers carefully monitor training loads,” Ms Ekegren said.

The information from the study will help provide information to students and their parents about the risks associated with choosing to pursue full-time dance training. It will also help to direct future research in the area.

(Source: Monash University)

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Date Created: July 17, 2014