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Injuries in Irish Dance

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Irish dance is growing in popularity and competitiveness; however, very little research has focused specifically on this genre of dance. The purpose of this study was to analyze the types of dance injuries incurred by Irish dancers. A chart review was performed to identify all injuries associated with Irish dance seen in the sports medicine or orthopaedic clinics at the investigators' hospital over an 11-year period. "Injury" was defined as any dance-related pain or disorder that led to evaluation in the clinics. Survey data were also collected from study participants. Ultimately, 255 patients from over 30 different schools of dance were seen with injuries directly related (726 clinic visits) or partially related (199 visits) to Irish dance. Participants ranged in age from 4 to 47, with 95% (243/255) under the age of 19. These 255 patients received 437 diagnoses. Almost 80% of the injuries (348/437) were attributable to overuse, and 20.4% were acute and traumatic injuries (89/437). Ninety-five percent (95.9%) of injuries involved the hip or lower extremity. The most common sites were the foot (33.2%), ankle (22.7%), knee (19.7%), and hip (14.4%). Typical diagnoses were tendon injury (13.3%), apophysitis (11.4%), patellofemoral pain and instability (10.8%), stress injury (10.1%), and muscle injury (7.8%). The majority of traumatic injuries were seen in clinic within 3 weeks, but less than a quarter of overuse injuries were seen that quickly. The most common treatment, prescribed to 84.3% of patients, was physical therapy and home exercises, and the majority of dancers (64.3%) were able to return to full dance activity after injury.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 3: Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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