Dance-Related Injuries in Children and Adolescents Treated in US Emergency Departments in 1991−2007

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Dancing is one of the most physically strenuous activities on the musculoskeletal system. As other literature has previously described, the types, sites, and rates of dance-related injuries are similar to those suffered by athletes in traditional sports.


A retrospective analysis was conducted with data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1991−2007. Sample weights were used to calculate national estimates of dance-related injuries. Trend significance of the numbers and age-adjusted rates of dance-related injuries over time was analyzed using linear regression.


An estimated 113,084 children and adolescents 3−19 years of age were treated in US emergency departments for dance-related injuries. Classical dance (ballet, jazz, tap, modern) accounted for 55.0% of dance-related injuries. Adolescents 15−19 years of age constituted 40.4% of the dance-related injury cases. The majority of injuries (58.1%) occurred to the lower extremities. Sprains or strains were the most common injury (52.4%) and falls were the most common mechanism of injury (44.8%).


Dance-related injuries have distinct injury patterns and mechanisms of injury. Injury patterns differ by types of dance and by age. Further research is needed to identify injury prevention strategies specific to these age groups.

The authors are with the Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH.