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Half of Dancers Sustain Injury. The Prevention Tips You Need.

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Did you know that youth dance injuries have increased by 37% from 1991 to 2007? While it’s wonderful that so many children and teens are getting in shape through dance, the significant increase in injury rates is cause for concern. As parents, physicians and dance teachers, it’s our job to help our children safely navigate the world of dance.

Today on the blog, I’d like to share with you some information about dance injuries and actionable tips for preventing injury. This information is available in infographic form at the bottom of this page (originally published by the Mayo Clinic). Also, parents may be interested in reading this post from last spring about how to prevent foot and ankle sport injuries in children.

Dance Injury Statistics

  • 5 million children are involved in dance at school
  • There are 32,000+ dance studios in the U.S.

Common dance injuries include:

  • Back Injuries (lumbar spine stress fracture)
  • Hip Injuries (snapping hip syndrome, hip impingement, hip flexor tendonitis)
  • Knee and Leg Injuries (stress fractures, patellofemoral pain syndrome – “runner’s knee”)
  • Foot and Ankle Injuries (Achilles tendonitis, trigger toe, ankle impingement, stress fractures)

How Different Dance Styles Lead to Injury

Different styles of dance affect the body in different ways.

  • Pointe ballet. The unique stresses found in this style of dance are especially hard on toes and the back of the ankle.
  • Modern dance. Unfortunately, 82% of modern dancers suffer at least one injury. According to one study, 40% of modern dance injuries occurred in the foot and ankle.
  • Breakdance. Some breakdancers experience a particular kind of lower back pain known as “breakdance back syndrome.”

Three Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk

There are several things you can encourage your child to do in order to reduce the risk of dance injury.

  1. Eat a healthy diet. Proper nutrition can keep bones and muscles healthy and strong enough for dance.
  2. Strength train. The importance of strength training cannot be underestimated. One study found ballerinas had only 77% of expected strength despite the demands of the performance.
  3. Rest. Proper rest and recovery is an important part of training. Overuse injuries are the most common injuries in dance.

Dance Injury Infographic

For more information, view the full infographic below.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

To learn more about how you can prevent dance injury, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546 to find a sports medicine physician near you in Houston. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.