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Incidence of Achilles Tendon Injuries in Competitive Highland Dancers

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Highland dancing has many similarities to ballet. Anecdotally, highland dancers are prone to sustaining injuries to their Achilles tendon (AT), but very few studies have investigated these injuries. The aim of the study was to examine the incidence and treatment of Achilles tendon injuries in competitive highland dancers. Seventy questionnaires were distributed at two major highland dance competitions in Scotland. The questions related to number of injuries to the AT, history and treatment of the injuries, training techniques, and competition habits. Thirty-eight questionnaires were returned and 33 were suitable for analysis. Ten of the dancers (30%) had experienced injuries to their AT and nine of the ten dancers had consulted a physical therapist. There were no statistical differences between injured and non-injured dancers in the number of hours practiced, or the type of floor used for practice. The injured dancers, however, were significantly older and had been dancing for a greater number of years compared to the non-injured dancers (p > 0.05). Health care practitioners, in particular physical therapists, have a major role in the prevention and treatment of AT injuries in highland dancers, especially regarding "older" dancers and those who have been dancing for many years.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Physiotherapy Department, Greater Glasgow Primary Care NHS Trust, Glasgow, Scotland 2: Division of Physiotherapy, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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