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Knee Injury Patterns in Young Irish Dancers

Michael A. Beasley, Andrea Stracciolini, Kesley D. Tyson, Cynthia J. Stein
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 2: Page 70 (June 2014)

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Abstract: Objective: To characterize knee injury patterns in Irish dancers. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed for Irish dancers under age 19 who presented with knee injuries to the sports medicine or orthopedic clinic from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2010. Data were collected on all knee injuries partially or directly related to Irish dance. Injury was defined as dance-related pain or damage to the structures in the knee that resulted in evaluation in the clinic. Survey data were collected to determine the number of different schools/studios represented by the dancers in the study. Results: Sixty-seven Irish dancers with 86 knee injuries were evaluated. Half (50.7%) of these patients received more than one diagnosis during these visits. Overuse injuries accounted for 90.7% of knee injuries. Time to presentation ranged from less than 1 week to over 1 year. There was a significant difference in time to presentation, with traumatic injuries being evaluated sooner than overuse injuries. The most common diagnoses, accounting for 53.5% of injuries, were patellar tracking disorders, including patellofemoral syndrome, hypermobile patella, and patellar subluxation. Conclusion: In Irish dance overuse injuries represent the great majority of knee injuries, and patellofemoral tracking disorders are the most common diagnosis. For many dancers, there is often a delay of weeks to months between the onset of symptoms and evaluation in clinic. Prevention programs could potentially eliminate a large portion of knee pain experienced by young Irish dancers.

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