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Performance-Related Injuries Among Student Musicians at a Specialty Clinic

Kristen R. Burkholder, Alice G. Brandfonbrener
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 3: Page 116 (September 2004)

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the relative frequency of performance-related injuries in patients age 18 and younger who presented to a specialized performing arts clinic. A total of 314 student musicians age 18 and younger were seen at the specialty clinic between its inception in 1985 and November 2002. Retrospective chart review and analysis of the resulting data were conducted. Information collected included presenting complaint, problem location, and diagnosis. Data were analyzed with respect to gender, instrument played, and ligamentous laxity. The upper extremity was the most common injury location. The lateralization and anatomic location of the injuries were influenced by the instrument played. The most frequent problems were musculoskeletal pain syndrome and excessive muscle tension. Lack of physical conditioning and poor instrumental technique also were commonly noted. Ligamentous laxity of the wrist and fingers was found in a proportion higher than in that of the general population and was related to the number and the type of physical diagnoses made. Laxity also was more common in girls. Other diagnoses that were more frequent among female musicians included lack of conditioning, intrinsic hand muscle weakness, and scoliosis. In boys, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis were more common. The findings suggest that young age is not a protective factor against playingrelated injuries. Physicians caring for musicians in this age group should have an awareness of the problems and risk factors related to playing musical instruments.

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