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Biopsychosocial Factors Associated with Foot and Ankle Pain and Injury in Irish Dance: A Prospective Study

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BACKGROUND: Foot and ankle pain/injury (FAPI) is the most common musculoskeletal problem suffered in Irish dancing. A prospective examination of risk factors for FAPI in this cohort has never been performed. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study over 1-year. METHODS: 85 elite adult Irish dancers were screened at baseline for biopsychosocial factors and followed up prospectively each month for 1 year to evaluate FAPI rates and potential risk factors. Subjects who suffered from multiple incidences of FAPI (with no pain/injury reported elsewhere in the body) or at least one moderate episode of FAPI were allocated to the foot/ankle-injured (FAI) group (n=28, 25 F/3 M). Subjects reporting no pain/injury or only one minor FAPI were allocated to the non-injured group (n=21, 14 F/7 M). Baseline differences in variables between groups were tested with the independent samples t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test for skewed data, and Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables. RESULTS: Baseline factors significantly associated with the FAI group included failing to always perform a warm-up (p=0.042), lower levels of energy (p=0.013), and more bothersome pain (p=0.021). Subjects also scored worse on two dimensions of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory: i.e., coping with adversity (p=0.035) and goal setting and mental preparation (p=0.009). CONCLUSION: Several biopsychosocial factors appear to be associated with FAPI in Irish dancers. Biopsychosocial screening protocols and prevention strategies may best identify and support at-risk dancers.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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  • Medical Problems of Performing Artists is the first clinical medical journal devoted to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of medical and psychological disorders related to the performing arts. Original peer-reviewed research papers cover topics including neurologic disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, voice and hearing disorders, anxieties, stress, substance abuse, and other health issues related to actors, dancers, singers, musicians, and other performers.
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