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Core Stability: Implications for Dance Injuries

Ashley M. Rickman, Jatin P. Ambegaonkar, Nelson Cortes
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 27 Number 3: Page 159 (September 2012)

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Abstract: Dancers experience a high incidence of injury due to the extreme physical demands of dancing. The majority of dance injuries are chronic in nature and occur in the lower extremities and low back. Researchers have indicated decreased core stability (CS) as a risk factor for these injuries. Although decreased CS is suggested to negatively affect lower extremity joint motion and lumbar control during activity, this relationship has not been extensively discussed in previous dance literature. Understanding the relationship between CS and injury risk is important to help reduce dance injury incidence and improve performance. The purposes of this review were to discuss 1) the core and components of CS, 2) the relationship between CS and injury, 3) CS assessment techniques, and 4) future dance CS research areas. CS is the integration of passive (non-contractile), active (contractile), and neural structures to minimize the effects of external forces and maintain stability. CS is maintained by a combination of muscle power, strength, endurance, and sensory-motor control of the lumbopelvic-hip complex. CS assessments include measuring muscle strength and power using maximal voluntary isometric and isokinetic contractions and measuring endurance using the Biering-Sorensen, plank, and lateral plank tests. Measuring sensory-motor control requires specialized equipment (e.g., balance platforms). Overall, limited research has comprehensively examined all components of CS together and their relationships to injury. Rather, previous researchers have separately examined core power, strength, endurance, or sensory-motor control. Future researchers should explore the multifactorial role of CS in reducing injury risk and enhancing performance in dancers.

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