Kids Dancing Their Way to the ER

Dance injuries among children on the rise over past 16 years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Dance is among the most popular activities for children. However, dance offers just as many opportunities for injuries as other sports like soccer or basketball.

A recent study looked at dance injuries among children over the past 16 years in the United States.

The researchers found that dance-related injuries have been increasing. Most injuries involved sprains or strains, but proper technique, rest, warm up and cool down could reduce the risk of injury.

"Warm up and cool down while dancing."

The study was led by Kristin J. Roberts, MS, MPH, at the Center for Injury Research and Policy in The Research Institute of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The researchers looked at data from all the patients who were treated between 1991 and 2007, based on information in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

This system, run by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, collects data from about 100 hospitals from diverse areas and generally reflects nationwide data.

The researchers estimated that 113,084 children and teens, aged 3 to 19, were treated in US emergency departments for injuries related to dance during the study period. This number is likely an underestimate, however, because of the limited data available through the Surveillance System.

The injuries increased by 37 percent over that time. There were an estimated 6,175 dance-related injuries in 1991, compared to 8,477 in 2007.

About 55 percent of these injuries were related to classical dance, which include ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. About 40 percent of the injuries occurred in teens aged 15 to 19.

"We believe this could be due to adolescent dancers getting more advanced in their skills, becoming more progressed in their careers and spending more time training and practicing," Roberts said in a statement. "We encourage children to keep dancing and exercising. But it is important that dancers and their instructors take precautions to avoid sustaining injuries."

The most common injuries were sprains or strains, which comprised 52 percent of all the injuries, and 58 percent overall occurred in the lower half of the body.

The most common reason for injury were falls, which were involved in 45 percent of the injury cases.

The researchers recommended that children stay well-hydrated while dancing and that they be sure to warm up beforehand and cool down afterward.

Other recommendations included getting enough rest before dancing to reduce the likelihood of injury and encouraging children to focus on proper technique.

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Information was unavailable regarding funding and disclosures.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 14, 2013
Last Updated:
August 19, 2013