Risk Factors for Lower-Extremity Injuries Among Contemporary Dance Students

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine whether student characteristics, lower-extremity kinematics, and strength are risk factors for sustaining lower-extremity injuries in preprofessional contemporary dancers.

Design:

Prospective cohort study.

Setting:

Codarts University of the Arts.

Patients:

Forty-five first-year students of Bachelor Dance and Bachelor Dance Teacher.

Assessment of Risk Factors:

At the beginning of the academic year, the injury history (only lower-extremity) and student characteristics (age, sex, educational program) were assessed using a questionnaire. Besides, lower-extremity kinematics [single-leg squat (SLS)], strength (countermovement jump) and height and weight (body mass index) were measured during a physical performance test.

Main Outcome Measures:

Substantial lower-extremity injuries during the academic year were defined as any problems leading to moderate or severe reductions in training volume or in performance, or complete inability to participate in dance at least once during follow-up as measured with the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC) Questionnaire on Health Problems. Injuries were recorded on a monthly basis using a questionnaire. Analyses on leg-level were performed using generalized estimating equations to test the associations between substantial lower-extremity injuries and potential risk factors.

Results:

The 1-year incidence of lower-extremity injuries was 82.2%. Of these, 51.4% was a substantial lower-extremity injury. Multivariate analyses identified that ankle dorsiflexion during the SLS (OR 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.52) was a risk factor for a substantial lower-extremity injury.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that contemporary dance students are at high risk for lower-extremity injuries. Therefore, the identified risk factor (ankle dorsiflexion) should be considered for prevention purposes.

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