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Is Training Load Associated with Symptoms of Overuse Injury in Dancers? A Prospective Observational Study

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Overuse injuries in dance are extremely common and often difficult to treat. High training load and dancing with pain are frequently regarded as risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries in professional dancers. The aims of this study were to assess for: 1. any association between training load (TL) and symptoms of overuse injury in professional dancers, and 2. any difference between the number of "time-loss" injuries and injuries causing significant symptoms not leading to decreased performance time. Twenty-one dancers from a professional contemporary dance company were followed for 7 weeks. They completed the dance-specific Self-Estimated Functional Inability because of Pain (SEFIP) questionnaire on a weekly basis to quantify musculoskeletal pain. Their TL was calculated by multiplying the Ratings of Perceived Exertion scale (RPE Borg CR10) by the daily training time. Associations between TL and SEFIP scores, recorded on a weekly basis, were evaluated using a mixed linear model with repeated measurements. No significant association was found between TL and severity of musculoskeletal pain. However, the TL of the dancers with no symptoms of overuse-injury, SEFIP = 0, was significantly lower compared to the dancers with symptoms, SEFIP > 0; p = 0.02. No time loss because of injury was reported during the study period. There were 251 symptoms of overuse injury reported, and 67% of the recorded time was danced with pain. It is concluded that dancers without musculoskeletal pain had lower TLs. While no time-loss injuries were found, two-third of the participants danced with pain during this 7-week period.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, University Medical Centre, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, Postbus 2040, The Netherlands;, Email: [email protected] 2: Sports Medical Centre - Nieuw Rotterdams Peil, and the Scapino Ballet, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 3: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Erasmus Medical Centre, and the Scapino Ballet, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 4: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 March 2019

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