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Genitourinary Conditions in Young Dancers

Relationship Between Urinary Incontinence and Foot Flexibility

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Research into dance pathology usually focuses on musculoskeletal and endocrine-nutritional conditions. However, when practiced full time other systems can also be affected. The aim of this work was to determine the prevalence of genitourinary conditions in dance and to establish whether any correlation exists between stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and the cushioning capacity of the foot. A total of 32 pre-professional dancers (27 females and 5 males; 19 ± 2.2 years old) who practiced several types of dance in the Madrid Professional Conservatoire of Dance were studied. The data were obtained using a questionnaire, personal interviews, and physical examination. The height of the internal plantar arch of both feet was measured before and after training, estimating the flexibility of the plantar arch (percentage change in height of arch between both situations). Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the existence of a possible relationship between SUI and plantar flexibility.

A total of 68.7% of dancers had suffered a genitourinary condition at some time during their lives, and 48.1% of the female dancers and 20% of the males had suffered SUI. SUI was triggered by dance in 69.2% of the females with urinary incontinence, and was considered as problematic by 30.7%. SUI occurs during the classes in 55% of cases, mainly during ballet activities, followed by flamenco tap dancing. SUI associated with dance is more closely related to the flexibility of the plantar arch in basal conditions (r2 = 0.64, p < 0.05, t-stat = 3.57) and after training (r2 = 0.76, p < 0.05, t-stat = 3.52), than that presenting in diverse situations (r2 = 2.07, p < 0.05, t-stat = 3.1), for which other causal factors must be sought. Lower genitourinary tract disorders are more prevalent in pre-professional dancers than in the general population; and dance itself is the main triggering factor of SUI. We, therefore, recommend that more attention be paid to the genitourinary system in dance medicine and propose a series of preventive measures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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