Dance Injuries Among Kids and Teens

When considering different sports that kids can take part in, you would think dance would be a safe bet. However, it’s quite the opposite, as more kids than you think are injured each year in dance-related injuries. In fact, researchers with Nationwide Children’s Hospital conducted a survey that shows just how common dance injuries are among kids and teens.

How Often Do Dancers Get Injured As Kids?

The study found that between the years 1991 and 2007, over 113,000 children between the ages of 3 and 19 visited US emergency rooms for dance-related injuries. Furthermore, they found a 37% increase in these types of injuries over the same years. In 1991, the number of injuries each year was 6,175, but by 2007 that number increased to 8,477. This means that in the United States, roughly 23 children are seen each day for this reason.

The most injuries occurred to children ages 15 to 19. With the second most occurring in the 11 to 14 age group. These two groups included 41% and 38% of children, respectively. About 17% of injured children were between the ages of 6 and 10, and the lowest percentage (4%) of injuries occurred in kids 3 to 5 years old.

Is Your Child at Risk of Injury?

Dance injuries in children are found more in those who are experiencing growth spurts. Growth spurts usually occur for boys between the ages of 10 and 14, where girls experience them between 8 and 12-years-old. Medical experts know that bones can be weaker during growth times, leading to more broken bones and stress factors among children who dance.

When your child is growing, bones grow faster than muscles, which creates a loss of muscle strength, and the ligaments to become tight. This also helps make your child vulnerable to injury.

Common Dance Injuries

The most common causes of dance injures are falls and others related to repetitive motions used during practice and performing. According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the dance injury statistics showed an astonishing 45% of injuries come from falls alone. Of these injuries, 52% are strains or sprains, 14% are broken bones, and 14% are simply bumps and bruises.

It’s thought that repetitive bone and joint stress can trigger sprains, stress fractures, and strains. For instance, an ankle sprain occurs when a dancer inverts the ankle while performing a move. When this happens, your child will experience pain and swelling in the ankle that’s usually accompanied by the feeling of instability. The bad news is that once your child sprains an ankle, it can increase the risk of subsequent strains in the same ankle. The researchers found that a combined 33% of all dance-related injuries in children happen in either the ankle or foot. In fact, 58% of all injuries occur in the lower extremities. They found that 20% of injuries occur in the upper extremities, and another 9% involve the trunk of the body.

Knee injuries comprise about 17% of injuries. They are common because of the positioning and nature of dance moves that involve jumping and bending. Such actions place lots of stress on the knees and can eventually result in overuse injuries. Other dance injuries in kids affect the hips, back, and head.

How To Prevent Injuries in Dance

Keeping your kids safe is a common goal of all parents. Just as you practice good water safety, the same goes for dance. Ensuring that your child gets plenty of rest and uses proper safety precautions will reduce the number of injuries your child will incur.

So, what can you do to prevent injuries in dance? That’s easy! Let’s take a look at the top ways.

Aside from getting plenty of rest, you should also make sure your child stays well hydrated at all times. Next, talk to your child about concentrating on proper techniques as this is vital. Just because he or she can land a particular move doesn’t mean that they do it correctly. One slip of a foot is all it takes to end up in the emergency room with a sprain or broken bone. Finally, always be sure to arrive at dance practice on time, so your child has ample time to stretch and warm-up before the real work begins.

In the end, it’s excellent to provide extracurricular activities for your children that do not involve going online. There are plenty of dangers on the internet, but different risks are involved in dance when safety precautions are ignored.

Dance Injuries Among Kids and Teens

This article was originally published on on April 2, 2013.

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