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Injuries Rising Among Young Dancers

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that 113,000 children and teens were treated for injuries related to dancing from 1991 to 2007, and the annual number of injuries grew by more than a third over that period.

Sprains and strains, or both, were most common, causing 52 percent of injuries, followed by falls, responsible for 45 percent of dance-related mishaps.

The study looked at dance injuries among children and young adults aged 3 to 19. All were treated in U.S. emergency rooms.

"Adolescents are still growing into their bodies and as such often develop imbalances that can lead to injury," said Eric Leighton, an athletic trainer in sports medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in a hospital news release. "It's critical that intervention and injury prevention be made available to them to address balance, strength and functional body control deficits as they grow."

According to the study, the annual number of dance-related injuries grew from 6,175 injuries in 1991 to nearly 8,500 injuries in 2007. Forty percent of injuries occurred in dancers aged 15 to 19.

"We believe this could be due to adolescent dancers getting more advanced in their skills, becoming more progressed in their careers and spending more time training and practicing," Kristin Roberts, lead study author and a senior research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the hospital, said in the news release. "We encourage children to keep dancing and exercising. But it is important that dancers and their instructors take precautions to avoid sustaining injuries."

Senior author Lara McKenzie, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, added: "Safety precautions such as staying well-hydrated, properly warming up and cooling down, concentrating on the proper technique and getting plenty of rest can help prevent dance-related injuries."

The study appears in the February issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has details on injuries.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Nationwide Children's Hospital, news release, Feb. 11, 2013

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