Background Few investigations utilize evidence-informed pre-participation evaluation, inclusive injury definitions, and prospective surveillance to identify risk factors for dance-related injury.
Objective To identify baseline injury risk factors that may be associated with dance-related musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints in pre-professional dancers.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Pre-professional ballet school; university dance program.
Participants Dancers registered in full-time ballet [n=85, 77 females, median (range) age 15 years (11–19)] and contemporary [n=60, 58 females, 19 years (17–30)] training.
Assessment of Risk Factors Pre-participation evaluation comprised of one-year injury history (yes/no), previous training (years), Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 (ACSI;score), body mass index (BMI;kg/m2), total bone mineral density (g/cm2), ankle plantar/dorsiflexion (degrees), active standing turnout (degrees), three lumbopelvic control tasks (high/low risk), unipedal dynamic balance (seconds), Y-Balance Test (cm). Weekly dance hours were self-reported throughout one academic year.
Main Outcome Measurements Self-reported MSK complaints (any physical complaint leading to difficulties participating in dance, regardless of consequences) were captured weekly by online modified Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre’s Questionnaire on Health Problems during academic year. MSK complaints were recorded (yes/no) for each participant for each week.
Results Response rate was 99%, with 81% (117/145) of dancers reporting at least one MSK complaint. Of the 1521 complaints (19% first-time, 81% recurrent), ankle (22%), knee (21%), and foot (12%) accounted for majority. Potential factors were identified through systematic review and a generalized linear mixed model was used to analyze the binary outcome measure. Injury history [Odds Ratio (OR) 7.37; 95% CI (3.41, 15.91)] and previous week’s dance hours [OR 1.02; 95% CI (1.01, 1.03)] were significantly associated with MSK complaint.
Conclusions Prevalence of MSK complaints amongst pre-professional ballet and contemporary dancers is high and significantly associated with injury history and training volume. Future studies implementing injury prevention should incorporate training load monitoring to address the dynamic, recursive nature of dance injury etiology.
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