Are Collegiate Dancers at a Higher Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury Compared to Other Female Athletes?

Research & Knowledge,

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy

Health Characteristics of Competitive Collegiate Dancers

Authors: Deja, Heather R. PT, DPT; Smith, Cheyenne PT, DPT; St. Peter, Joshua PT, DPT; Tuttle, Lori J. PT, PhD; Rauh, Mitchell J. PT, PhD, MPH, FACSM

Are collegiate dancers at a higher risk of musculoskeletal injury compared to other female athletes? In this issue’s FREE access research report, authors examined the associations between prior injury/stress fracture occurrence, disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction, and urogenital distress in competitive college dancers. 

41 female collegiate dancers completed subjective and objective data to determine health characteristics present in this population.

Results indicated that of the 41 participants:

  • nearly 50% reported a lower extremity injury in the last year.
  • 7/41 had a stress fracture in the last year.
  • 1/3 of dancers were classified as having an eating disorder.
  • 1/3 reported urogenital distress during dance activities.
  • 2/3 reported urogenital distress outside of dance activities.

Why is this relevant? This information supports the hypothesis that collegiate dancers may have a higher prevalence of disordered eating and related pathogenic behaviors compared to other female athletes.

Additionally, these behaviors may lead to the higher rates of injuries seen with collegiate dancers.

Read the FREE ACCESS research report to learn more.