(From the April 2013 issue of Inside Nationwide Children's)
Dance is a beautiful form of expression, but can be physically taxing and strenuous on the human body, especially for children and adolescents. A new study by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy examined dance-related injuries among children and adolescents 3 to 19 years of age from 1991 to 2007. During the 17-year study period, an estimated 113,000 children and adolescents were treated in U.S. emergency departments for dance-related injuries.
According to the study, the annual number of dance-related injuries increased 37 percent, climbing from 6,175 injuries in 1991 to 8,477 injuries in 2007. Sprains and/or strains (52 percent) were found to be the most common types of dance-related injuries, with falls (45 percent) being the most common causes of injuries.
The study also found that 4 out of 10 injured dancers were between 15 and 19 years of age.
“We believe this could be due to adolescent dancers getting more advanced in their skills and spending more time training and practicing,” said Kristin Roberts MS, MPH, lead author of the study and senior research associate in the Center.
“Safety precautions such as staying well-hydrated, properly warming up and cooling down, concentrating on the proper technique and getting plenty of rest can help prevent dance-related injuries,” said the study’s senior author Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator in the Center.
Due to the increase in the number of dance-related injuries, Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine program has designed a number of services to address the needs of the young dancer. “Adolescents are still growing into their bodies and as such often develop imbalances that can lead to injury,” said Eric Leighton, ATC, an athletic trainer in Sports Medicine. “It’s critical that intervention and injury prevention are available to address balance, strength and functional body control deficits as they grow.”