Injury patterns in young, non-professional dancers

J Sports Sci. 2011 Jan;29(1):47-54. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.521167.


The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence and types of injuries in 1336 young, non-professional female dancers (age 8-16 years) who participated in a descriptive mixed (cross-sectional/ longitudinal) cohort study. Previous and current injuries were diagnosed and later classified into seven major categories. Our results show that 569 (42.6%) of the dancers examined manifested an injury. Advanced age and increased exposure to dance yielded an equivalent increase in the prevalence of injured girls: from 1 of 10 girls in the 8-year-old age cohort (mean = 1.05 per 1000 h) to 1 of 3 girls in the 14-year-old age cohort (mean = 1.25 per 1000 h). Time elapsing between first and second injuries decreased with age. Among the youngest group of dancers (8-9 years) the most common injury was tendonitis (41%), while in adolescent dancers (14-16 years) knee injuries became the leading cause of complaints (33%). We conclude that young, non-professional dancers are at high risk of injury. Dancers who had been injured in the past were at higher risk for re-injury. Tendonitis in the foot or ankle joint was a common injury among the youngest dancers, while knee injuries were common among adolescent dancers. A routine screening of this dancer population by an expert in dance medicine will reduce the risk for an injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Ankle Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dancing / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prevalence
  • Tendinopathy / epidemiology*