Self-reported hamstring injuries in student-dancers

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2002 Aug;12(4):230-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2002.00237.x.


Dancing involves powerful movements as well as flexibility exercises, both of which may be related to specific injuries to the musculo-tendinosus tissue, e.g., the hamstring muscle complex. In this study, the occurrence of acute and overuse injuries to the rear thigh in dancers was investigated retrospectively by means of a questionnaire. All but one (n = 98) of the student-dancers (age 17-25 years) at the Ballet Academy in Stockholm participated. The results demonstrated that, during the past 10 years, every third dancer (34%) reported that they had acute injuries and every sixth dancer (17%) had overuse injuries to the rear thigh. Most (91%) of the acute injuries were subjectively located to an area close to tuber ischiadicum. The majority (88%) stated that the acute injury occurred during slow activities in flexibility training, e.g., splits, and only a few (12%) in powerful movements. Continuing problems were reported by 70% of the acutely injured dancers. Many of the dancers neglected their acute injury (14 did not even stop the ongoing dance activity) and they also greatly underestimated the recovery time. Only 4 dancers (12%) received acute medical assistance. Thus the results, based on the recollection of the subjects, indicated that stretching could induce severe strain injuries to the proximal hamstrings in dancers. Extrapolating these results to the practice, it can be recommended that stretching exercises be executed with caution in connection with dancing sessions and training, and that, information about the seriousness and acute treatment of such injuries be added to the student-dancers' curriculum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dancing / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / etiology*
  • Leg Injuries / pathology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thigh