Information on the profile of dancers as well as patterns and extent of dance injuries is useful to dance community in implementing injury prevention measures. However, there is little published data on injuries in the Singapore dance population.
A prospective study was conducted to profile the dancers and study the incidence and injury patterns of a contemporary dance company.
Nine dancers underwent anthropometric measurement, dance specific screening as well as Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The dancers were interviewed for each injury that developed over a year to establish diagnosis as well as gather data on the circumstances surrounding each injury.
All the dancers were trained in multiple dance genres and had been dancing for a median of 10 years. Median age and body mass index were 27.4 years and 19.1 respectively. The dancers performed well in dance specific tests and were are largely symmetrical in posture and flexibility but had asymmetrical hip weaknesses. The dancers scored highly on the Functional Movement Screen (range 18-19) but had a wide range of aerobic fitness on the YMCA step test. A total of 15 injuries were reported and only one injury resulted in cessation of dance practice and for 1-2 days only. Of these, 46.7% had previous injuries in the same area, 53.3% were overuse injuries and 66.7% occurred during rehearsals. While not reaching statistical significance, a trend towards higher fatigue rating (median 6.5) with a median of 18 hours of training in the preceding week, was seen in injured dancers. Only 20% sought medical care and only 6.7% saw a physician.
The incidence of dance injuries was low. The dancers had asymmetrical weakness of the hip and lo aerobic fitness. Most injuries were mild and occurred through repetitive practice in novel movements during rehearsals. Fatigue may be a significant contributing factor to injuries especially during rehearsals. Injury prevention measures could be targeted at addressing fatigue through supplementary aerobic training and strength training.